The Leading Causes of Trucking Accidents

Tuesday July 12, 2022

Truck accidents are typically catastrophic. Commercial trucks like big rigs, flatbed trucks, and delivery trucks present unique dangers to passenger vehicles, their occupants, and other road users. Compared to other vehicles, the sheer size of commercial trucks makes trucking accidents in Connecticut scary. These accidents cause some of the most severe injuries and fatalities.

Driving an 18-wheeler on Connecticut roads is a challenging task. Nonetheless, truck drivers need to be aware of the dangers their large and unwieldy trucks present. They should receive extensive training and special licensing to operate such trucks. Other drivers on the road should also exercise extra caution in the presence of semi-trucks to avoid fatal crashes.

If you or someone you care about has been hurt in a truck crash, you should contact an experienced truck accident lawyer from Connecticut. Remember, during a truck accident claim, you may have to deal with the truck driver, their trucking company, and the insurance company. An attorney can gather and analyze relevant evidence to determine the cause of your truck accident. Determining what led to your accident can help establish liability in your personal injury case.

Common Causes of Fatal Truck Accidents

Driver error is the most common cause of fatal truck accidents. Your error or the truck driver's error may lead to injuries such as head trauma, spinal cord injuries, and neck injuries. Injuries may range from minor to deadly, depending on the speed of the collision, the vehicle types, and their sizes.

Here are the most common causes of fatal truck accidents in Connecticut.

Distracted Driving

Today, distracted driving is a problem everywhere. It is as much an issue on minor roads in Connecticut as it is on major roads, like the I-84, I-91, and I-95. Any activity that takes a driver's attention away from the road is a form of distracted driving. Drivers who take their eyes away from the road for several minutes or even seconds can cause extensive property damage and multiple fatalities.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 3,142 people lost their lives in 2020 due to distracted driving. Some common examples of distracted driving that lead to severe injuries and deaths include:

  • Texting while driving
  • Talking to passengers
  • Adjusting the GPS
  • Adjusting climate or audio controls
  • Dealing with insects, objects, pets, and children
  • Daydreaming
  • Drinking, eating, or smoking
  • Applying makeup

Fatigued Driver

Driving a truck is a high-pressure job. Often, trucking companies require drivers to deliver goods within a short time. This causes drivers to drive for long hours with few breaks and inadequate rest.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), property-carrying drivers may drive their trucks for a maximum of 11 hours after a 10-hour break. The FMCSA also requires drivers to take a 30-minute break after driving for 8 cumulative hours without any interruption.

A fatigued driver may lose concentration and coordination, affecting their reaction time on the road. Adequate rest is necessary when operating a truck in Connecticut. An experienced truck accident lawyer can look into driver logs, the truck's GPS tracker, cellphone data, receipts, and bills of lading to prove hours of service violations.

Truck Driver Negligence

Drivers in Connecticut are bound by state and federal traffic laws. The law requires them to exercise caution while on the road. Actions like speeding, drunk driving, aggressive driving, poor driving, ignoring traffic signs, and tailgating endanger the safety of road users.

If a truck driver engages in any of the above activities that may cause trucking accidents, your truck accident attorney may interview witnesses, review driver logs, and enlist the help of accident reconstruction experts to prove the trucker's negligence.

Improper Loading

Every load on a truck must adhere to specific size, weight, height, width, and length limits. If a truck is carrying hazardous materials, FMCSA's regulations are even stricter. 

Still, mistakes happen that can make a truck too heavy or improperly balanced. This may interfere with the truck's center of gravity and stability, making it more likely to tip over. Loads that fall on the road can lead to catastrophic accidents. Hazardous materials may catch fire or create toxic and dangerous situations after truck crashes.

Road Conditions

Poor road maintenance can lead to trucking accidents in Connecticut. In particular, road construction projects that lead to unexpected detours and confusing traffic signals are one of the common causes of truck accidents. During such instances, government agencies and contractors may be liable for damages.

How Liability Is Determined in Truck Accidents

Connecticut follows modified comparative rules when determining liability. This implies that plaintiffs cannot recover compensation if their fault for trucking accidents is 51% or more.

Fault is a complex issue in truck accident claims. A collision with a semi-truck may involve multiple vehicles and various at-fault parties. A knowledgeable truck accident attorney in Connecticut can help you establish negligence after a truck accident by:

  • Investigating the crash
  • Gathering evidence of negligence
  • Going through the driver logs
  • Analyzing photos from the scene
  • Getting eyewitness statements
  • Determining the cause of the crash and who is liable
  • Compiling all relevant evidence of your losses

To prove liability, an experienced lawyer must prove that the defendant breached their duty of care, causing your crash, injuries, and damages. Liable parties may include:

  • The truck driver
  • The trucking company
  • The truck owner
  • Cargo loaders
  • Government agencies
  • Part manufacturers

Federal Regulations for a Trucking Company

FMCSA is the federal agency responsible for governing motor carriers in the U.S. This agency comes up with laws that aim to reduce truck accidents as well as promote the safety of all road users. Some of the regulations trucking companies must abide by include:

  • 10-hour break for truckers after driving for 11 hours.
  • Periodic inspection of commercial trucks to ensure safety.
  • Tests for drugs like cocaine, marijuana, opiates, methamphetamines, and amphetamines.
  • Training for drivers hauling hazardous waste.
  • Medical exams for drivers to check for eye problems, hearing problems, seizures, brain injuries, and other medical problems.
  • Drivers should be over 21 years of age to operate commercial vehicles weighing over 10,000 pounds.

Get in Touch With a Truck Accident Law Firm

Accidents happen every day on our roads. According to the NHTSA, 38,824 people were killed in auto accidents in 2020. Approximately 2.28 million people sustained injuries in the same year.

If you or your loved one has been injured in a trucking accident, reach out to a Connecticut truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. A lawyer can help you recover compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.

At Kennedy, Johnson, Schwab & Roberge, our truck accident attorneys can investigate your accident and determine its cause. We have the best truck accident lawyers with a proven record of success ready to speak to you today. Get started now to find out if you have a valid truck accident claim.

Get in Touch

Schedule a Free Initial Consultation

At Kennedy, Johnson, Schwab & Roberge, L.L.C., we handle all cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that we do not get paid unless and until you receive a settlement or a jury award.

Schedule a free, confidential consultation with a skilled Connecticut personal injury lawyer today.

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