Semi-truck or tractor-trailer accidents can have devastating consequences, often resulting in serious injuries or even fatalities. In order to prevent these tragic events, it’s important to understand some of the common causes of these crashes. In this blog, we will explore the most common causes of semi-truck accidents, shedding light on the contributing factors as well as the laws and regulations created to address these issues in Montana and Wyoming.

9 Leading Causes of Semi-Truck Accidents in the U.S.

Driver Adjusting A/C While Driving

#1 Most Common Cause? Driver Error

Driver error is the leading cause of semi-truck accidents. According to a recent study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), driver error is responsible for nearly half of crashes involving large trucks.

#2 Speeding

One of the most common forms of driver error is speeding. This is increasingly common as truck drivers deal with increased pressure to meet deadlines. Speeding truck drivers have less time to react to sudden changes in traffic conditions, increasing the likelihood of a collision.

#3 Fatigue

While truck drivers’ hours are determined and restricted by regulations, they still face long hours and demanding schedules. Long hours on the road often lead to drowsiness, impairing a driver’s ability to stay alert and make quick decisions.

#4 Distracted Driving

Distracted driving, such as texting or using a mobile phone while driving, is becoming more of a problem for everyone on the road. It is also a common cause of accidents among truck drivers.

#5 Driving Under the Influence

Operating a semi-truck while impaired by alcohol or drugs significantly increases the risk of a catastrophic accident. This includes prescription medicines that might make the driver drowsy or impair their driving in any way.

#6 Failure to Secure Loads

Improperly secured loads can shift during transit, causing the truck to become unstable and potentially leading to a rollover or spillage. Truck drivers and companies must adhere to strict guidelines for securing loads to prevent crashes caused by shifting cargo.

#7 Low Filled Liquid Loads

Trucks carrying liquid loads, such as fuel or chemicals, must be filled to a specific level to maintain stability. When these loads are not filled to the proper level, the truck can become top-heavy, increasing the risk of a rollover.

#8 Lack of Maintenance

Regular maintenance is essential for ensuring that trucks are safe to operate. Failure to properly maintain a semi-truck can lead to mechanical failures on the road, such as brake failure or tire blowouts, which can result in serious accidents.

#9 Lack of Training

Inexperienced or poorly trained drivers are more likely to make mistakes behind the wheel. Truck drivers are required to put in a specific amount of training hours before they are allowed to drive substantial commercial trucks. These requirements are not always met due to the high demand for truck drivers and the lack of accountability for trucking companies.

Other Culprits? Road Issues & Mechanical Failures

Semi-Truck Rounding Winter Snow Road

While driver error is the most common cause of semi-truck accidents, other factors can also contribute to these incidents. Poorly maintained roads, obstacles, snow, and heavy rainfall can make it difficult for truck drivers to maintain control of their vehicles. Mechanical failures, such as brake or steering system malfunctions, are also to blame.

Trucking Regulations in Wyoming

Picture of Mountains at End of Road Lined with Pine Trees

Wyoming has unique regulations pertaining to trucking accidents. Due to the prevalence of trucking accidents caused by icy roads and high winds, The Joint Transportation, Highways and Military Affairs Committee sponsored a draft bill to create a misdemeanor for violating signs and markers for closures to light and high-profile vehicles.

Trucking Regulations in Montana

Road Leading to Mountains Lined with Green Grassy Hills

Montana has also established comprehensive laws regulating commercial trucking and determining liability for semi-truck accidents. These cover driver qualifications, vehicle maintenance and inspection, hours of service, and insurance requirements. It’s important to work with a truck accident lawyer who is experienced with the unique laws and regulations in Montana.

Been in a Truck Accident?

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Semi-truck accidents can have serious consequences, but many of them are preventable. By addressing the common causes of these accidents, such as driver error, failure to secure loads, and lack of maintenance, we can work towards reducing the number of accidents on our roads. If you have been involved in a semi-truck accident, it is crucial to seek legal advice right away. Contact a tractor-trailer accident lawyer to schedule a free consultation and learn more about what to do after a semi-truck accident.