A collision with a large commercial truck can be deadly. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there were 4,237 fatal crashes involving large trucks in 2017. A “large truck” is one that weighs 10,000 pounds or more. Keep in mind that the average passenger vehicle weighs between 3,000 and 4,000 pounds.

To increase safety on the road, passenger vehicle drivers should be aware of the common causes of commercial truck accidents. Below we list five common causes of large truck crashes.

1. Driver Fatigue

There are regulations and laws in place to avoid truck driver fatigue, however, truck drivers still face long hours on the road and may not always comply with the hours-of-service regulations. Pressure from trucking companies and the need to meet short deadlines contribute to breaking these regulations. Driver fatigue leads to drowsiness, losing focus, and ultimately crashes. Driver fatigue is a huge problem in the trucking industry.

2. Overtaking and Speeding

Because truck drivers need to meet certain deadlines, speeding and overtaking is all too common. Often, truck drivers are driving over the speed limit. This is dangerous as it takes a large truck more time to slow down or react to changes on the road. Overtaking by these commercial trucks at these high speeds can cause passenger vehicles to swerve off the road or into another lane, leading to crashes. If this is the case, passenger vehicle drivers could receive compensation for their injuries and damage to their vehicle. It’s always best to consult with a Seattle truck accident attorney, like those at Elk & Elk Co., Ltd, to know what steps to take in this situation.

3. Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is common amongst passenger car drivers and truck drivers alike. However, a truck driver is in charge of handling a large vehicle and has a bigger responsibility when it comes to maintaining road safety. Eating, texting, and changing the radio station are all examples of distracted driving. The moment the driver takes their eyes off the road, their safety and the safety of others is in jeopardy.

4. Cargo Loading Problems

Improper cargo loading can lead to a lot of issues. Overloading cargo can cause tire blowouts or the truck to tip over. If the cargo load slips and falls into the road, it can cause drivers to swerve, materials to hit other cars’ windshields, and road obstructions. All of these can easily cause accidents to happen.

5. Poor Truck Maintenance

Although most commercial truck accidents are caused by truck driver error, sometimes the trucking company or manufacturer can be to blame. Before each truck gets on the road, it has to be inspected by the trucking company. Failure to do so, or failure to properly maintain the truck can lead to problems that could cause a fatal accident.

Commercial truck accidents can prove to be especially catastrophic due to the sheer size of large trucks. That’s why it’s so important for truck drivers and trucking companies to take the proper precautions when it comes to road safety. Commercial truck accidents can be avoided if the truck driver practices safe driving techniques and the truck is well maintained. However, if you are injured in an accident due to a negligent truck driver or trucking company, contact a truck accident lawyer to discuss your legal options.