Truck Accident Common Causes
In Boston, pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers of passenger vehicles are at a disadvantage when sharing the roads with large trucks. Tractor-trailers can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, placing anyone outside of the semi at substantial risk in the event of an accident.
Varying circumstances can lead to truck accidents, but whatever the cause, the consequences can be catastrophic: fatalities, permanent injuries, loss of work, and more. From driver error to lack of truck maintenance to poor weather conditions, Massachusetts sees a surprising number of truck accident common causes.
Many Possible Causes
Many truck accidents, and other types of auto accidents, are caused by simple negligence on the part of the driver. Other 18-wheeler accidents may be caused by some other factor:
- Driver error (such as speeding, driving fatigued, inattention, substance abuse, etc.)
- Unfamiliarity with Roadway
- Truck Equipment Failure
- Weather Conditions
- Improper Loading
- Inexperienced Truck Drivers
Truck Driver Errors
In Massachusetts, careless truck driver decisions are the number one factor contributing to truck crashes, as reported by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). This includes speeding, misjudging the speed of other vehicles, driving distracted, and following other vehicles too closely. Driver fatigue is another major concern, occurring when drivers are overworked and logging more hours than federal regulations allow.
The miscalculation of braking capability is a good example of Boston truck accidents. Loaded tractor-trailers take 20–40 percent farther than cars to stop, and the discrepancy is greater on wet and slippery roads. Inexperience or inattentiveness to road and traffic conditions may result in insufficient braking time, thereby causing an accident.
Tractor-Trailer Equipment Failure
Tractor-trailers are subject to regulations that govern vehicle maintenance. Part 396.3 of FMCSA regulations requires every truck driver and company to perform pre-trip inspections, in addition to standard inspections and maintenance on a regular basis—all of which must be documented.
A US Department of Transportation study found that truck accidents often occur when trucks or commercial vehicles fall into disrepair. Common types of equipment failure that cause Massachusetts collisions include faulty brakes and tire blowouts. The study found that 33 percent of all pre-crash malfunctions are braking issues. Defective designs by truck manufacturers can also contribute, such as defective tires or failed detection devices.
Hazardous Weather Conditions
Hazardous weather conditions impact the safety of the roads in Boston. Truck drivers must adhere to § 392.14 of the FMCSA regulations and take extreme caution while driving in poor weather such as rain, snow, ice, sleet, fog, mist, dust, and smoke when visibility or traction is affected.
Big trucks cannot be stopped as quickly or steered as easily as cars, which can cause horrific crashes in poor weather. Driving too fast on wet, slick roads is dangerous due to the heavy weight of the trucks and their loads. All too often, commercial truck drivers don’t account for these limitations during adverse weather conditions. Failing to drive appropriately for weather and road conditions leads to many Boston truck accidents each year.
An 18-wheeler can malfunction when cargo is not safely loaded and arranged in the trailer. When a tractor-trailer is overloaded, the truck’s speed, performance, and steering are all affected.
For example, tires are rated to carry a certain weight, and too much weight can cause the tires to blow out. Similarly, an unbalanced load could cause the truck bed to fall over, putting Massachusetts drivers at risk. Improper loading can also lead to unsecured cargo, which may fall off the truck and into traffic.
Inexperienced Truck Drivers
A growing cause of trucking accidents in Boston is the improper hiring of truck drivers. Many shippers simply contact drivers or companies without first examining if they or their trucks are in compliance with FMCSA regulations.
Retain a Boston Truck Accident Lawyer
Our attorneys have extensive knowledge of these laws and the resources to successfully investigate your claim. The knowledgeable Boston truck accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Joel H. Schwartz are prepared to help you recover financial compensation for any physical, financial, and emotional damages you have suffered. Call 617-742-1170 to get started.