Common Causes Of Semi-Truck Accidents

In our post last week, we wrote about a new rule by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration which will make it easier for the agency to fine carriers that coerce their truck drivers into violating safety laws. As one example, truck drivers often feel compelled to violate hours-of-service rules, which were put in place to prevent fatigued driving.

Truck driver fatigue is a frequent cause of truck accidents, but there are other common problems that increase crash risk as well. In today's post, we'll discuss two of them: Poorly maintained truck brakes and issues related to how cargo is distributed and secured.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, fully loaded tractor-trailers often require 20-40 percent more distance to come to a stop, compared to smaller and lighter vehicles. And that stopping distance estimate assumes good road conditions and properly working brakes.

Unfortunately, truck brakes wear out quickly, and companies are not always quick to repair and replace worn parts. In the aftermath of many truck accidents, investigations often reveal that bad brakes were the cause of the crash or a significant contributing factor.

Cargo can also lead to traffic accidents, especially if the load is unbalanced, improperly secured or heavier than legally permissible. Trucking companies sometimes try to increase profit margins by loading trucks down with as much cargo as possible. When trucks are overweight, they are much harder to stop (even with good brakes) and they contribute to accelerated wear and tear on our nation's roads and highways.

Imbalanced and unsecured loads are also a problem. When weight is not distributed evenly, trucks are at an increased risk of rollover accidents when going around sharp curves and navigating other obstacles. Improperly secured cargo can fly off in transit, striking other vehicles and injuring or killing other drivers.

For more information on frequent causes of truck accidents in Kentucky and elsewhere, feel free to visit the truck accidents page on our firm's website.

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