Top Five Causes of Truck Accidents


When large commercial trucks are in accidents involving passenger vehicles, it is invariably the occupants of the smaller, lighter passenger vehicle who sustain the more serious injuries.

Among 3,964 people killed in large truck crashes in the U.S. in 2013, more than 70 percent were occupants of other vehicles, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Another 11 percent were bicyclists and pedestrians struck by trucks.

In Georgia in 2013, 163 people were killed in large truck accidents (4.1 percent of the total), the NHTSA says. Eleven of these fatalities occurred in Fulton County.

What Causes Truck Accidents?

In the Large Truck Crash Causation Study, a landmark study, traffic researchers analyzed thousands of truck accidents using federal data and said truck accidents were most often caused by “driver recognition and decision errors.”

Driver Recognition Error: A recognition error means the driver failed to recognize the dangerous situation leading to a crash by not paying proper attention, being distracted by something inside or outside the vehicle, or failing to adequately observe the situation.

Driver Decision Error: A decision error means the driver drove too fast for conditions, misjudged the speed of other vehicles, followed other vehicles too closely, or made false assumptions about other drivers’ actions.

The Top 5 causes of truck accidents were found to be:

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  • Brake failure, out of adjustment, etc. Brake problems were found in almost 30 percent of truck accidents. Compared with passenger vehicles, trucks have much longer stopping distances and are more prone to rolling over. Poorly maintained braking systems on large trucks make it harder to stop a vehicle that weighs 10,000 pounds or more.
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  • Prescription /over the counter drug use. Many products that treat cold symptoms, coughs, allergies, travel sickness, and pain may have a significant effect on driver performance, with drowsiness the most common problem, according to Medscape. These effects may occur shortly after ingestion of over the counter medication and may even cause significant “hangover” effects the next day.
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  • Traveling too fast for conditions. Speeding or traveling too fast for wet or slick roads or other inclement weather conditions creates the danger of being unable to stop a large truck in time to avoid a collision.
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  • Unfamiliar with roadway. A driver who is unfamiliar with a road may be involved in crashes that are caused by failure to decrease speed before a sharp turn or areas of congestion.
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  • Inadequate surveillance. This is simply not looking ahead to see and recognize conditions or hazards and may include making a turn into oncoming traffic or making a hazardous lane change.

After a Truck Accident in Georgia

If a truck driver or the trucking company caused an accident involving a commercial truck accident, those who have been injured deserve compensation for their losses. It usually takes an independent investigation beyond what’s conducted by police or insurers to ensure that a passenger car occupant, pedestrian, or cyclist hurt in a truck accident receives full compensation.

The truck accident attorneys of Millar and Mixon, LLC in Atlanta investigate truck accidents and press claims on behalf of injured parties throughout Georgia. If you have been in an accident involving a commercial motor vehicle, contact us to discuss a possible claim as soon as possible.