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Big Rig, Big Risks: Top Causes of Truck Accidents

Causes of Truck Accidents

Truck accidents, though similar to standard automobile crashes, have distinct causes unique to the trucking industry. The sheer size of semi-tractor trucks often results in severe, sometimes fatal, consequences for those in smaller vehicles, with truck drivers frequently escaping unharmed. If you've been injured or have lost someone in a truck accident, our expert attorneys at Wettermark & Keith, LLC, are here to help. Boasting over thirty years of experience in challenging large corporations, we possess the necessary resources to bring your case to a successful resolution.

Driver Fatigue

One of the primary contributing factors in truck-related accidents is simple driver fatigue. Truck drivers are typically paid by the amount of cargo they haul and how quickly they can get it from one destination to the next. To make a quicker profit, truckers may work unreasonably long hours to incur bonuses or incentives for finishing their route ahead of time. Unfortunately, truck drivers are not immune to the effects of driver fatigue and the longer they stay up the more likely they are to cause an accident. According to data gathered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 13% of truck accidents occur due to drivers falling asleep at the wheel.


In order to reach destinations quicker which in turn may net a bonus from their employers, truck drivers can choose to disobey posted signage and travel above the speed limit. State governments put speed limits in place to reduce the likelihood of injury and try to save lives; when truck drivers ignore these signs they put the lives of those they share the roads within direct danger. Many turns and curves on state interstates have reduced speed signs in place to lessen the number of traffic collisions incurred while negotiating them. Trucks traveling too quickly through these turns can easily spin out of control and cause a multi-car accident.

Equipment Failure

Sometimes it's not the driver but the vehicle itself that's the culprit. Equipment failure, like dodgy brakes, worn-out tires, or a faulty steering system, can cause trucks to behave unpredictably. Just imagine a brake failure on an 80,000-pounder; yikes! Despite the regulations for regular maintenance and inspection, these things can slip through the net.

Improper Loading

The way a truck's cargo is loaded can significantly influence its stability on the road. If the cargo is not distributed evenly or secured properly, it can cause the truck to tip or lose control, especially at high speeds or around bends. It's like trying to balance a stack of pancakes on a butter knife – one wrong move, and everything goes topsy-turvy!

Poor Training or Inexperience

Driving a truck isn't just about getting behind the wheel and hitting the gas. It requires special training and a hefty dose of experience. When truckers are poorly trained or inexperienced, it increases the chance of a misstep. It's like putting a first-time cyclist in the Tour de France – things could go south very quickly!

Distracted Driving Truck Accidents

Distracted driving remains a significant source of accidents in the Southeast. Additionally, driver inattention causes a large number of vehicle collisions as well. When drivers of large commercial vehicles fail to pay attention to the changing conditions around them, catastrophic accidents can take place. It is currently against the law in Alabama, Florida, and Tennessee to use a cell phone while operating a vehicle. Truck drivers engaged in phone conversations while driving put the lives of others on the road at great risk.

Driving Under The Influence

When a trucker is driving under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicating substances, he poses a great risk to the lives of others. If you were injured or if a family member was killed by a trucker driving under the influence, you need attorneys who have the skills and resources to build a strong case of negligence against the trucker and the trucking company. Wettermark & Keith are personal injury lawyers known for aggressively fighting trucking companies while always treating clients with compassion and respect throughout the legal process.


Strict laws are imposed on licensed truck drivers because they spend a lot more time traveling on the road than the average person. The trucks they drive can inflict greater damage than passenger vehicles if a collision occurs. A trucker driving under the influence could face criminal charges and be held civilly liable for his actions. Some of the ways driving under the influence can negatively affect a truck driver are:

  • Slower reaction time
  • Lack of focus or inability to concentrate on the road
  • Impaired judgment while operating the truck
  • Not driving cautiously during hazardous road conditions
  • Violating federal driving limit laws

If We Don't Win, You Don't Pay Us

When selecting clients to represent in court, our firm operates on a contingency fee basis. What this means to our clients is simple: if we don’t win your case, you won’t pay anything. We choose to operate this way for the sole benefit of our clients, we want to see you obtain a successful recovery so that you can continue to carry on with your life.

Contact our law office today if have been the victim of a truck accident in Alabama, Tennessee, or Florida Panhandle areas. With the aid of our top injury attorneys, we can help you and your family pursue the compensation you need in this hard time.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How significant is driver fatigue in causing truck accidents?

Driver fatigue is a significant cause of truck accidents. The demanding schedules and long hours on the road can lead truck drivers to push beyond their limits, leading to tiredness and decreased alertness. This, in turn, can lead to slower reaction times and a higher likelihood of accidents. According to data gathered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 13% of truck accidents occur due to drivers falling asleep at the wheel.

Does speeding contribute to truck accidents?

Yes, speeding is a notable factor contributing to truck accidents. In the interest of reaching their destination faster and possibly earning a bonus from their employers, truck drivers may choose to exceed posted speed limits, posing a danger to themselves and other road users. Increased speed can make it harder to control the truck, especially when negotiating turns and curves, and reduces the available time to respond to emerging situations.

How does distracted driving influence truck accidents?

Distracted driving is a major cause of truck accidents. When truck drivers divide their attention between driving and other activities such as texting or talking on a cellphone, they put themselves and others on the road at high risk. Despite laws against using a cell phone while operating a vehicle in many states, distracted driving remains a significant issue. The large size and weight of commercial vehicles mean that any accidents caused by distracted driving can have particularly catastrophic consequences.

Frequently Asked Questions

Equipment failure, such as malfunctioning brakes, worn tires, or steering issues, can lead to unpredictable truck behavior and accidents. Regular maintenance and inspections are mandated, but sometimes these issues are overlooked or missed.

If a truck’s cargo is unevenly distributed or inadequately secured, it can upset the vehicle's balance, making it prone to tipping or losing control, especially at higher speeds or on curves.

Inexperienced or inadequately trained truck drivers are more likely to make errors on the road, increasing the risk of accidents. Proper training and experience are crucial for safe truck operation.

Truck drivers operating under the influence pose a significant threat on the roads. Such behavior not only risks criminal charges but also holds the driver civilly liable for any resulting harm or damage.

Ready to work together? Contact us today for a free consultation.


If you or a loved one have been injured and think you might have a case, call us now for a free consultation.