In 2021, there were over 523,796 big trucks involved in crashes in the United States.

Of the police-reported crashes that occurred in that year, 5,149 were fatal, and 110,000 involved injuries.

These accidents can have devastating consequences. Understanding the leading causes may be crucial for preventing future tragedies.

The cause of these truck accidents can include things like speeding, distracted driving, inclement weather, driving under the influence, driver fatigue, poor vehicle maintenance, and more. But what are the top five causes of semi-truck crashes?

This article delves deep into the key factors contributing to semi-truck accidents, offering valuable insights for professional drivers and the general public.

1. Speeding

Excessive speed is the leading factor in semi-truck crashes, posing a serious threat to everyone on the road.

When drivers push the limits and exceed safe speeds, they compromise their ability to react quickly to unexpected situations. The sheer size and weight of semi-trucks magnify the consequences of speeding, making it harder for them to stop or maneuver effectively.

Speeding increases the likelihood of collisions and intensifies their impact, resulting in more severe injuries and damage. Despite regulations to control speed limits for commercial vehicles, some drivers still disregard these guidelines, putting themselves and others at risk.

2. Distracted Driving

In 2021, distracted driving was the second most common cause of fatal accidents for large trucks.

With the rise of smartphones and other gadgets, drivers are more prone to distractions than ever before. Taking your eyes off the road can be very dangerous.

In the case of commercial truck drivers, distractions can be even more dangerous due to the size and weight of their vehicles. A momentary lapse in attention could result in a catastrophic accident involving multiple vehicles and severe injuries.

To combat distracted driving, some companies enforce strict policies prohibiting phone use while driving and provide training on safe driving practices. It’s important for all drivers to understand that no text or call is worth risking lives on the road.

3. Driving Under the Influence

In 2021, 5,643 large truck drivers were involved in fatal accidents. Around 62% of these drivers were not tested for drugs. However, of the drivers tested, 310 drivers tested positive for at least one drug in their system.

The impact of driving under the influence goes beyond just legal consequences; it can result in severe injuries or even fatalities. Commercial truck drivers are responsible for always operating their vehicles safely and soberly. Any impairment increases the likelihood of an accident occurring.

When a driver operates a commercial vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs, they put themselves and others at serious risk. Impaired judgment and slower reaction times can lead to devastating accidents on the road.

Enforcement of laws against driving under the influence is important in preventing these dangerous situations from happening. Both truck drivers and other motorists should be aware of the risks associated with impaired driving and make responsible choices behind the wheel.

4. Bad Weather Conditions

Bad weather conditions can play a significant role in causing a semi-truck wreck. Heavy rain, snow, fog, or ice can all create hazardous driving conditions that increase the likelihood of collisions.

Let’s break down the numbers:

  • Of 5,149 fatal crashes, around 1,329 occurred during adverse weather conditions
  • Of 111,000 crashes involving an injury, around 29,000 occurred during adverse weather conditions
  • Of 379,000 accidents involving property damage, around 99,000 occurred during adverse weather conditions

Poor visibility during foggy weather may make it challenging for truck drivers to accurately see other vehicles on the road. Slippery roads due to rain or ice may make it difficult for trucks to brake effectively, leading to potential rear-end collisions.

Strong winds can also pose a danger by affecting the stability of large trucks on highways. Gusts of wind can cause trucks to sway uncontrollably, risking jackknifing or veering into adjacent lanes.

Truck drivers should adjust their speed and driving behavior according to the current weather conditions. Safety should always be the top priority when navigating through adverse weather situations.

5. Driver Fatigue

Driver fatigue is a serious issue that plagues the trucking industry, leading to numerous accidents on the road. Long hours behind the wheel can cause drivers to become drowsy and less alert. In one survey by the American Transportation Research Institute, 65% of truck drivers reported feeling fatigued while driving.

Around 13% said they had fallen asleep behind the wheel at least once in the past month that they survey was taken. This lack of focus increases the likelihood of making errors while driving.

When a tired driver gets behind the wheel of a semi-truck, their reaction times are significantly slower. This puts themselves and others at risk. Fatigue impairs judgment and coordination, making it harder for drivers to navigate safely through traffic or adverse weather conditions.

To combat driver fatigue, regulations limit the number of hours truckers can drive consecutively without taking breaks. However, some drivers may still push themselves beyond these limits in pursuit of meeting tight delivery schedules or financial incentives.

How a Truck Accident Attorney in Louisiana Can Help You

Avoiding a truck accident isn’t always possible, and navigating the legal aftermath can be overwhelming when you’re involved in a semi-truck accident in Louisiana. This is where a truck accident attorney comes in to provide essential guidance and support.

An experienced attorney should understand the complexities of these cases. They can investigate the incident thoroughly, gathering crucial evidence to build a strong case on your behalf.

A truck accident attorney can also communicate with insurance companies and other parties involved, ensuring your rights are protected. They can negotiate for fair compensation for damages such as:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Property damage

Their goal should be to help you recover physically, emotionally, and financially after a traumatic event.

Contact Talbot, Carmouche & Marcello for a Free Consultation

You may be entitled to compensation if you’ve been in a semi-truck accident in Louisiana. At Talbot, Carmouche & Marcello, we’ve been fighting for the people of Louisiana for over 50 years. We bring an experienced legal team that offers patient, kind, and caring support.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.