Top 3 Causes of Trucking Accidents

Top 3 Causes of Trucking Accidents

Tractor-trailers and large freight trucks can lead to devastating road accidents when errors occur. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (I.I.H.S.) reports 4,136 people died in large trucking crashes in 2018. Sadly, most of these victims were occupants of other vehicles.  

While some of these accidents were a result of unforeseeable circumstances, research shows most trucking accidents are entirely preventable and occur due to negligence and recklessness on the part of the operators. In a study performed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (F.M.C.S.A.) titled the Large Truck Crash Causation Study (L.T.C.C.S.), these were the top three causes of trucking accidents that all drivers should be aware of:  


Speeding is considered the deadliest reckless driving behavior on the road, accounting for nearly 30 percent of all fatal traffic accidents in the country.  

The L.T.C.C.S. study found 23 percent of all large truck accidents listed speeding as a leading factor, particularly in collisions resulting in fatalities. Crash rates become even higher on slippery roads when snow, ice, and sleet can make it difficult for trucks to stop.  

The F.M.C.S.A. found speeding accidents involving large trucks can be dramatically decreased when drivers follow legally posted speed limits on roadways. When slippery roads are present, drivers who reduce their speed by one-third on wet roads and one-half on snowy roads have a better chance of stopping soon enough to prevent an accident.  

Brake Issues  

At least 29 percent of large truck accidents in the L.T.C.C.S. study occurred due to poorly maintained brakes. Braking issues are preventable hazards that can often be resolved with regular maintenance and frequent inspections.  

Braking issues can include:  

  • squealing, squeaking, and grinding; 
  • wobbling, vibrating, and scraping;  
  • leaking fluid; 
  • uneven distribution of breaks which pull cars to one side; 
  • burning; 
  • spongy or soft feeling brake pedal; and 
  • bouncing.  

Brake failures prevent trucks from stopping in time to avoid road hazards such as a fixed object, vehicles, passengers, and bicycles sharing the road. Trucks already take 20 to 40 percent more roadway to stop than an average passenger vehicle. When brakes are not up to par, this process can take even longer.  

Lack of Preparation 

Truck drivers travel all over the country, encountering hundreds of roads they have never traveled on before. Drivers in at least 22 percent of truck accidents assessed in the L.T.C.C.S. study listed unfamiliarity with their route as a leading cause of their crash. The most dangerous of these including, sharp turns, low bridges, and narrow or congested streets.  

While drivers cannot possibly prepare for every road hazard or unfamiliar curve, planning ahead and doing research on an upcoming trip can reduce the risk for accidents caused by human error. Drivers who get up and go, failing to plan ahead, are most at risk for causing accidents made when driving in unfamiliar territories.  

New York City and Long Island Truck Accident Attorneys  

There is no excuse for reckless driving. Truck drivers who fail to drive safely put others at unnecessary risk for catastrophic losses and injuries.  

If you or a loved one has been injured in a trucking accident due to negligence, the attorneys at Siler & Ingber are here to help. With a 98% success rate, we have the experience and the know-how to help our clients achieve a favorable outcome. Contact us today at 1-877-529-4343, or schedule an appointment online anytime. We never charge a fee unless we recover money for you. 

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