What Are the Main Causes of Truck Accidents?

Driving to work, going on a family vacation, or simply running errands — no matter why or where you spend your time driving, seeing 18-wheelers is a common occurrence. Even though you may be on high alert when driving close to these big vehicles, accidents with these large trucks happen often. These accidents can be highly traumatic for those involved.

truck driver after accident

Truck accidents tend to be catastrophic for people driving smaller vehicles. Whether your vehicle is pinned against a guardrail or sideswiped due to blind spots on large trucks or the impact from a direct collision, these accidents can cause lifelong injuries, paralysis, and even death.

Often, the truck driver may be at fault, and these accidents tend to occur for a number of reasons, such as:


Truck drivers are essential for our economy. Because of their hard work, we are able to quickly and easily buy the things that we need. Due to the nature of their job, truck drivers rarely get to work the standard 9-5 shift. 

Since truck drivers are needed all hours of the day and night, they often spend many hours behind the wheel. There can be immense pressure on these drivers to complete trips as quickly as possible, and that means that the drivers may prioritize driving overtaking their mandatory rest breaks. When drivers choose to do this, they are putting themselves and others at a higher risk for an accident.

Impaired Driving

Truck drivers are often driving for hours at a time and may feel the need to take stimulants to help them stay awake. Though the stimulants may stop them from falling asleep, they may also slow their reaction times and impair judgements. 

Other common substances that can impair the judgement of a driver are alcohol and painkillers. Even having a slight difference in reaction time can make a huge difference in whether an accident can be prevented or the severity of an accident. When a truck driver is under the influence, it can have deadly consequences.

Distracted Driving

Truck drivers spend most of their waking hours on the road, which means that they may feel the need to perform activities that result in distracted driving. Whether these drivers are eating, drinking, or using their cell phones in some capacity, their attention can’t be totally focused on their task of driving. When drivers are multitasking, it makes an accident more likely to occur. Though there are federal laws to help regulate what drivers are allowed to do while on the road, unfortunately, they can’t prevent every accident from happening. 

Reckless Driving

Given the pressure that truck drivers are under to make good time, it is not surprising that truck drivers may feel they need to speed in order to get their cargo where it needs to go in the time allotted for their delivery. 

If truck drivers are feeling pressed for time, they may also feel stressed out or angry, which may make them more likely to engage in activities like tailgating or changing lanes without signaling. These behaviors are risky for all drivers, but given the large size of 18-wheelers, it is even more dangerous for them, as they are unlikely to be able to stop suddenly if needed.

Poor Maintenance or Defective Vehicles

Sometimes the cause of the truck accident is not the driver but their equipment. Tractor-trailers are heavy pieces of machinery, and every component must be adequately maintained in order to reduce the risk of accidents and catastrophic injury. Because of this risk, it is the duty of truck fleet owners and driver owner-operators to regularly inspect, repair, and maintain their equipment. Unfortunately, many carriers and private owner-operators can tend to run older equipment and neglect all of their maintenance duties. Something as simple as over or underinflating tires can lead to a pile-up and major accident injuries.

Similarly, equipment and vehicle manufacturers may provide defective products that risk the safety of truck drivers and others on the road. From brake failures to poorly manufactured carriage underride guards, any defective vehicle component has the potential to trigger a breakdown or cause a bad accident to become much worse.

Determine the Cause of Your Truck Accident With Help From Tampa Truck Injury Attorneys

Though these are some of the most common causes of truck accidents, this list is not exhaustive. Some truck accident scenarios can be complicated, and other times a carrier will attempt to obscure the true cause of an accident only for an investigation to reveal that one of the above factors was at play.

If you or someone you love was involved in a truck accident, then your best hope for financial and medical recovery is to seek reasonable compensation from all parties involved. Call Darrigo & Diaz to speak to a truck accident lawyer in Tampa during a free, no-risk, no-obligation case evaluation. Call (813) 774-3341 or contact us online to schedule your free, confidential appointment now!

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