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What are the Most Common Causes of Semi-Truck Accidents?

truck accident attorneys in Hattiesburg

Each day, thousands of semi-trucks roll through Mississippi carrying all types of products to areas within the state and to surrounding states. Trucking is essential to our economy, and there is no doubt that we as Americans could not enjoy the standard of living that we have without this industry. But despite this fact, however, the trucking industry is not without its downside.

Semi-trucks cause numerous accidents each year, killing thousands of individuals and injuring tens of thousands more. Commercial trucks are massive vehicles that can weigh in excess of 80,000 pounds when they are fully loaded, and when they collide with another vehicle, occupants of the other vehicle usually end up with the most serious injuries.

The trucking industry is heavily regulated, and there are many measures that have been put in place to help reduce the number of commercial truck accidents. But in spite of these regulations, far too many semi-truck accidents still occur.

What Causes 18-Wheeler Accidents?

Most trucking accidents result (at least in part) from some type of driver negligence. Some of the most common examples include:

Driver Fatigue

One of the leading causes of truck accidents is driving while drowsy or fatigued.  Truck drivers are particularly susceptible to drowsy driving, because they drive for long periods of time, often by themselves and during evening and overnight hours. Under these conditions, it can be very difficult to keep from getting tired. Trucking companies do not help matters when they give drivers unrealistic deadlines that force them to stay out on the road longer than they should just to keep their schedule.

Aggressive/Reckless Driving

Another common result of being under too much pressure to stay on schedule is driving aggressively. This can result in truckers speeding excessively, overtaking smaller vehicles at high speeds, and other dangerous maneuvers that can sometimes turn deadly.

Chemical Impairment

In order to reduce the stress and “take the edge off”, some truckers turn to alcohol and drugs while driving. It is well known that these substances can severely impair an individual’s ability to drive safely, and this is especially true when you have to drive for many consecutive hours over the road.

Distracted Driving

In today’s electronic age, just about everyone is tempted to send texts and use their smartphones for other activities while behind the wheel. For truckers, it is often just a matter of being bored and needing something to keep them occupied for the many hours that they are on the road. But just sending a text for a few seconds while driving 55 miles per hour is roughly the equivalent of driving an entire football field blindfolded. This is why more and more auto accidents these days are attributable to distracted driving.

There are other factors outside of the driver’s control that can also contribute to a semi-truck accident, such as:

  • Poor Training: We have already talked about the undue pressure trucking companies often put on drivers to deliver their loads on time.  Another area where the company could be negligent is through inadequate training. Truckers are supposed to go through a certain amount of training and meet other requirements before they are put on the road, but unfortunately, these guidelines are not always followed.
  • Overloaded/Unevenly Loaded Cargo: Shipping companies who load cargo into trucks also have a strict set of guidelines they are required to follow. When they fail to do so, trucks can end up becoming overloaded or unevenly loaded, which can result in falling off to the side or rolling over under the wrong set of circumstances.
  • Negligent Maintenance: Big rig trucks typically log thousands of miles over-the-road each month. For this reason, it is extremely important to keep these trucks properly maintained and able to handle the significantly increased wear and tear. Under pressure to keep their trucks on the road, those responsible for maintenance are sometimes tempted to cut corners, putting truckers (and others they share the road with) in greater danger.
  • Product Defects: Sometimes, a faulty or defective vehicle or vehicle part can be a contributing factor in a commercial truck accident. Examples may include brake line failures, computer dashboard malfunctions, tire blowouts, and many others. When a product defect contributes to a trucking accident, it may be possible to file a product liability claim against the designer, manufacturer, or another party within the product’s supply chain.

Injured in a Semi-Truck Accident in MS? Contact a Biloxi, Mississippi Truck Accident Lawyer Today

Truck accidents can result in devastating injuries and pursuing an injury claim can be very complicated and confusing. There are numerous laws and regulations that govern the industry, and there are multiple parties that could be at fault for the accident. For these reasons, it is best to work with an attorney who not only has personal injury experience, but also someone who has specific experience successfully pursuing trucking accident claims. 

If your accident occurred in Biloxi, Gulfport, Pascagoula, Ocean Springs, or anywhere in Southern Mississippi, contact the Gardner Law Firm to schedule a free consultation. We will meet with you to thoroughly assess your case and advise you of your legal rights and options. Call our office today at (228) 900-9618 or message us through our web contact form. 

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