| Read Time: 6 minutes | Truck Accidents

Truck accidents can occur for many reasons. Regardless of what caused a crash though, an accident will almost always cause catastrophic injuries, significant property damage, and even wrongful death.

It is not always easy to determine what caused a collision, particularly while you are still at the scene and in shock from being seriously hurt. Still, it is important to determine what caused the crash, as that can indicate who is liable for paying the damages you deserve. Below, our Atlanta truck accident lawyers outlines the common causes of truck accidents in Georgia.

Call us today at (770) 988-5252 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

Defective Equipment

Defective equipment is one of the most common causes of truck accidents.

Faulty brakes, tire blowouts, defective steering columns, broken headlights, and faulty trailer hitches are just a few of the most common examples of equipment failure that result in serious crashes. Truckers have a legal obligation to fully inspect their truck before they head out on the road, but they do not always comply with the law.

Although defective equipment is one of the most common causes of truck accidents, it is also the hardest to identify. A lawyer will know how to detect when equipment failure caused a crash.

Regular maintenance and thorough inspections are critical in preventing these types of equipment failures. Unfortunately, when these protocols are not followed, the risk of catastrophic failures increases significantly. It endangers not only the truck driver but also all road users.

Truck Driver Negligence

Many people automatically assume that if there is a truck accident, the trucker is always at fault. While that is not always the case, there are many instances in which it is true.

Some of the most common forms of truck driver negligence that result in a crash include:

It is also not always easy to determine when truck driver error caused a crash. Sometimes, it requires legal action such as subpoenaing the driver’s cell phone records, which is why it is always recommended to call a lawyer who can take this action for you.

Enhanced enforcement and continuous monitoring of truck drivers’ behaviors, through methods like dash cams and GPS tracking, could significantly reduce these negligent practices. Education on the consequences of such negligence can also play a key role in reducing the frequency of these accidents. 

Poor Weather Conditions

Poor weather conditions and commercial trucks are sometimes a deadly combination. Heavy rain can reduce a truck driver’s visibility, making it more difficult for them to see what is on the road around them.

Roads that become slippery due to heavy rain can also reduce the traction of a truck’s wheels on the road. Windy conditions can cause a trailer to veer into other lanes and can potentially even cause a truck to jackknife.

Accident victims sometimes think that because there is nothing anyone can do about poor weather conditions, they cannot file a compensation claim. This is not true.

Truck drivers are expected to know how to operate their vehicles safely at all times. If they feel they cannot, they are expected to pull over until the weather clears. Wanting to cover as much distance in as little time as possible, truck drivers often fail to do this, meaning they can be held liable for paying full damages.

Negligent Hiring Practices

Trucking companies must ensure that they hire only skilled and experienced drivers. They are also expected to provide proper training when a driver does not have the necessary experience.

To ensure they are only putting qualified drivers on the road, trucking companies must screen all drivers with a drug and alcohol test, check the driving record of all applicants, and ensure potential drivers have a valid Department of Transportation (DOT) certificate.

Trucking companies often try to cut corners and save money by not engaging in all of these practices and so, they allow inexperienced or unqualified drivers to drive their vehicles.

Improper Cargo Loading

Loads that trucks carry are very important and consumers rely on them every day. The cargo on a truck can also cause an accident. When cargo is not loaded properly, it can fall off the truck and hit other vehicles in the nearby area.

Worse, when the cargo is inherently dangerous, such as when a truck is carrying fuel, it can result in an explosion or a serious fire that hurts innocent motorists.

Improperly loaded cargo can also shift during transport. It can throw off the entire balance of the truck, which makes it much more difficult for the driver to control the vehicle. Drivers are required to inspect their cargo every time they head out on the roads to ensure that an accident does not cause these catastrophic consequences.

Unsecured Cargo

Unsecured or improperly secured cargo can have disastrous consequences on the road. Cargo that shifts during transit can alter the balance of a truck, significantly affecting the driver’s ability to control the vehicle, especially at high speeds or in sudden maneuvers. It can lead to jackknifing, rollovers, and loss of control. 

Moreover, cargo falling off a truck creates severe hazards for other vehicles, potentially leading to multi-vehicle collisions. Ensuring that all cargo is secured with appropriate restraints and regularly checked during transit is crucial for preventing these accidents.

Overloaded Trucks

Due to the excess weight, overloading a truck increases the risk of tire blowouts and brake failure. It also significantly extends stopping distances. Overloaded trucks are harder to maneuver and more prone to tipping over during turns or when driven on uneven surfaces. There are legal limits for truckloads, which are enforced to prevent such issues. 

Compliance with these regulations is essential not only for safety but also to avoid legal penalties. Trucking companies and drivers must ensure that trucks are loaded within the permissible weight limits and that the load is balanced correctly to maintain vehicle stability.

Impaired Driving

Any motorist that drives while impaired by alcohol or drugs poses a significant risk to everyone else on the road. When a truck driver engages in this behavior, the results are catastrophic.

To some, it is unfathomable that a truck driver would get behind the wheel while impaired. Truthfully though, truck drivers often believe that drugs and alcohol can help them stay awake while they are on the road and so, they use them quite often without any regard for what may happen as a result.

Implementing stricter drug and alcohol testing regimes, both pre-employment and randomly during employment, can help deter this risky behavior. Educational programs that highlight the dangers of impaired driving and are explicitly tailored to truck drivers can also effectively reduce these incidents.

Truck Driver Fatigue

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association places strict rules on how long a truck driver can remain on the road at one time. Truckers are not allowed to drive for more than 11 hours in 14 hours.

Truck drivers must also work no more than 60 hours on seven consecutive days or more than 80 hours on eight consecutive days. After drivers have reached these limits, they must remain off duty for at least 34 consecutive hours.

Unfortunately, time is money in the trucking industry. Truck drivers are under a lot of pressure to deliver loads in a certain period, even if it violates federal law. Trucking companies also sometimes have policies that motivate drivers to break the law, such as paying them a certain amount for every mile they cover.

Road Design and Maintenance Issues

Road design and maintenance issues can significantly increase the risk of truck accidents. Inadequate road designs, like improperly graded curves or insufficient signage, directly contribute to accidents.

Furthermore, poorly maintained roads with deep potholes or eroded surfaces can cause a truck driver to lose control. These factors necessitate rigorous legal scrutiny to determine accountability, especially when they lead to severe accidents.

Technological Failures

Recent advancements in trucking technology, meant to enhance safety, can sometimes fail and lead to accidents. Malfunctions in critical systems like stability controls, anti-lock braking systems, or electronic logging devices can have disastrous consequences. Your lawyer needs to investigate these technological failures when they contribute to accidents, as they can indicate negligence on the part of the truck manufacturer or maintenance team.

Stay Abreast of Legal and Regulatory Changes in the Trucking Industry 

Staying informed about recent legal and regulatory changes is crucial for both trucking companies and legal professionals. Changes in laws or enforcement can greatly impact how accidents are handled and adjudicated. For instance, regulations regarding electronic logging devices (ELDs) help ensure drivers adhere to required rest periods, potentially reducing fatigue-related accidents.

Our Legal Professionals Can Help, Call MG Law Today!

You must determine what caused your truck accident, but doing so is never easy. At MG Law, our skilled attorneys know how to determine what caused your truck accident, so we can hold the appropriate parties liable for paying the maximum damages you deserve.

Call us today at (770) 988-5252 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

Author Photo

Michael Geoffroy’s law practice focuses on auto collisions, premises liability, wrongful death, and catastrophic injury. He stands up for the cause of justice throughout Georgia and on behalf of his clients every day. He is a leader in both the courtroom and the community, having been recognized numerous times for his involvement in each.