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Common Causes of Truck Crashes

September 27, 2018 Truck Accidents Blog

The events leading to a truck crash are critical in understanding why the collision happened and who is at fault. Other factors involving the driver, road conditions, and the truck itself may have also played a role. Here are a few common causes of truck crashes.

Driver Health

Driving a commercial vehicle often requires long work hours and traveling far from home. Without proper care, health problems could develop that affect a driver’s ability to take on the task of driving.


Federal law allows drivers of large trucks to work up to 11 hours at a stretch before taking a break. Unfortunately, surveys indicate that many drivers break the rules and work for longer hours. Long and/or irregular schedules, nighttime driving, and other habits can lead to fatigue and decreased reaction time. Sleep deprivation could lead to “microsleep.” This uncontrollable and brief period of sleep can last for ten seconds at a time, even while driving.

Unhealthy Diet

Eating on-the-go might mean choosing fast food or other unhealthy food options. When poor eating habits lead to excess weight or obesity, a person may suffer from sleep apnea or other serious health problems.

Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Trucking companies must be vigilant with their drivers when it comes to alcohol and drug consumption. Federal regulations require commercial truck drivers to pass a drug screening before they are hired. Employers must also perform random drug tests throughout a driver’s employment. If they suspect a driver is impaired, they may impose a drug test.

Driver Distraction

Distracted driving is a nationwide epidemic, and it significantly affects the trucking industry. In 2016, distraction/inattention was the second most common factor for truck drivers involved in crashes. Distractions are not limited to cell phone use. Anything is a distraction if it takes a driver’s hands off the wheel, mind off the task of driving, and/or eyes off the road.

Driving Conditions

Weather and/or poor roadway conditions are dangerous to the operation of all vehicles, or blindspots especially large trucks. In addition, defective truck parts or an improperly loaded or maintained truck can create a hazard. Any combination of the factors below may contribute to a crash.

Weather Conditions

Drivers of large trucks need extra time to stop. Slippery roads due to snow and ice can make stopping even more difficult and require even more time to stop. A trailer could jackknife or overturn, collide with other vehicles, and create a huge hazard in the road.

Rain, snow and other precipitation can decrease visibility, as can nighttime driving. In fact, 38 percent of fatal crashes involving trucks happened at night in 2016.

Roadway Conditions

The state and/or local government has a duty to keep San Diego roadways safe. That means fixing hazards and removing debris. Unexpected obstructions, damaged or missing signs, or other poor roadway conditions can confuse drivers and provoke evasive maneuvers.

Truck Conditions

Trucking companies and their employees are expected to maintain a standard of safety with regard to their trucks and trailers. That means frequently and properly inspecting the truck and all its parts for defects, wear and tear, and any other issues.

An improperly loaded trailer can create unbalanced weight and make it easier to overturn. An overloaded trailer is also very dangerous, as the added weight might put too much pressure on the brakes and lead to brake failure. It requires even more time to stop, and could also lead to rollovers and jackknifing incidents.

Contact Our San Diego Truck Injury Attorneys for Help

There are many possible causes of truck crashes. If you were injured in a collision, knowing exactly what happened could be impossible without the help of an experienced attorney. We can help. Contact CaseyGerry to tell us what you know about what happened. We can start an investigation to get to the bottom of why the crash occurred.

Acting fast is critical, as evidence disappears with time. California limits the time you have to file a lawsuit. Contact our San Diego firm to protect your rights.