Accidents involving commercial trucks, such as big rigs, 18-wheelers, and tractor-trailers, very often result in catastrophic injuries to drivers and their passengers. Learning about the more commonly seen causes of trucking accidents can be helpful when filing a truck accident injury claim. By claiming with the at-fault party’s insurance company, you can be compensated for your injuries and losses caused by your accident.
To learn more about what causes truck accidents or for help in seeking compensation, we encourage you to reach out to Ohio’s top truck accident lawyers. Call Slater & Zurz at (888) 534-4850 today to set up a FREE consultation.
Truck Accident Statistics
- According to the National Safety Council (NSC), approximately 150,000 people are injured in trucking accidents each year in the U.S.
- Of those victims, around 5,000 succumbed to their injuries. This means that an average of 14 people die in truck accidents each day.
- A recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that 70% of truck accident fatalities are drivers or passengers of motor vehicles.
- 15% of those killed are motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians
- Only 15% of the reported fatalities were truck drivers.
- 25% of vehicle occupants who died were struck head-on by the truck and 23% collided with the rear of the truck.
10 Frequent Causes of Truck Accidents in Ohio
With truck accidents often leading to devastating consequences, it is always helpful to understand what causes these types of accidents. The reasons these accidents occur are nearly endless. However, we detail ten of the most common causes below.
1. Driver Fatigue
Truckers are frequently under pressure to get to their destination in a minimal time. This can lead to truck drivers working extremely long hours. Without taking adequate time to rest, they drive while drowsy or fatigued, putting their lives and the lives of those around them at risk.
2. Distracted Driving
Truck drivers are just as tempted as other motorists by distractions while driving. Talking or texting on their cell phones, eating and drinking, and changing their music constitute distracted driving and pose a serious risk to motorists and their passengers.
3. Driving While Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs
Even with the strict standards placed on commercial driver’s license holders, some truck drivers are still known to drive while intoxicated. According to the Ohio BMV, a trucker is driving under the influence if they have a blood alcohol concentration of .04% or higher as opposed to the .08% limit imposed on other motorists.
4. Reckless Driving
Speeding, ignoring traffic signals, tailgating, illegal passing, and failing to yield are all considered forms of reckless or aggressive driving and frequently can lead to serious truck crashes.
5. Poor Vehicle Maintenance
Many trucking companies fail to maintain their trucks properly. Maintenance costs truckers and trucking companies time and money, so in an effort to save on maintenance and repair costs and minimize the amount of time the truck cannot be driven, companies will not perform or delay regular maintenance. Accidents are often caused by poorly maintained truck components, such as blown tires, poor brakes, and non-working brake lights or signals.
6. Poorly-loaded Cargo
Uneven cargo can cause a semi-truck or tractor-trailer to tip over, causing a collision with others on the roadway. Poor cargo loading techniques can also cause boxes and other cargo to spill out onto the roadway, making vehicles hit the cargo, swerve off the road, or hit other cars.
7. Bad Weather
Poor weather conditions, such as heavy rain and ice, can cause slick roads, which can make it more difficult to brake or cause the trucker to lose control. Fog, smoke, and heavy snow make it hard for the trucker to see, which can also cause an accident. Although the weather is out of our control, some weather-related accidents can be attributed to a third party, such as those responsible for de-icing the roadway.
8. Hazardous Road Conditions
Dangerous road conditions can easily cause an accident. Poor road conditions include improper signage, poor lighting, roadway debris, missing guardrails, missing or malfunctioning traffic signals, and missing or faded road markings.
9. Unreasonable Time Constraints
To maximize profits, some trucking companies put a lot of pressure on their drivers to move the cargo as fast as possible. This excessive pressure can cause the truck driver to speed or operate the truck while tired.
10. Inadequate Driver Training
To save time and money and get their new employee on the road as quickly as possible, some truck companies try to get away with providing minimal and, in some cases, no truck driver training.
Why Ohio Truck Accidents Lead to Such Serious Injuries
The consequences of being involved in an accident with a large commercial truck can be devastating. This is because people traveling in smaller vehicles, as well as motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians, are especially vulnerable to injury due to the large size and weight of semis.
Most commercial trucks weigh around 20-30 times more than other motor vehicles. They are also much larger in size. These two factors make it much harder for the trucker to brake, see cars in their blind spots, and react to other cars or hazards. In fact, it takes a truck up to 40% longer than cars to stop when braking. With a truck’s increased ground clearance, smaller vehicles often underride the trucks causing serious injuries. This high center of gravity also makes a truck much more prone to tipping.
Who Can Be Held Liable in an Ohio Truck Accident Case?
After a trucking accident, your Ohio injury lawyer will look into what caused the crash and who or what was responsible. Parties who might be held liable for damages include:
- The truck driver
- Motorists involved in the accident
- Other drivers on the road (such as a driver who cuts off the truck)
- Truck owners
- Truck companies
- Truck maintenance companies
- Cargo loaders or shipping companies
- Truck and truck part designers and manufacturers
Once all at-fault parties are identified, your attorney will compile evidence, such as the police report, pictures of the scene, video footage, and the truck’s monitoring system, to prove who was at fault and, therefore, liable for your losses.
Our Ohio Truck Accident Lawyers will Fight for Your Rights.
The personal injury attorneys at Slater & Zurz have seen first-hand how devastating truck accidents can be. They can turn your life upside-down and forever change your and your family’s future.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a big rig, semi, or 18-wheeler accident, we are here to step in and help. Our truck accident attorneys will ensure you receive the highest level of medical care, giving you the best chance at a full recovery. Once we know you are receiving the care you need, we will begin our tireless pursuit of justice on your behalf, fighting to secure maximum compensation for your losses.
In Ohio, injured victims have two years to take legal action in a truck accident case, so we recommend acting quickly and calling us at (888) 534-4850 to schedule your FREE consultation. We have offices in Akron, Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, and Toledo to serve the legal needs of injured victims and their families across Ohio.