Research on the causes of truck accidents has shown poor truck maintenance to be one of the leading causes of large truck accidents. With the substantial amount of weight 18-wheeler trucks carry, proper maintenance of these large commercial trucks is necessary for safe traveling on busy roads. Due to the size of 18-wheeler trucks, accidents caused by malfunctioning or defective parts are often fatal when colliding with smaller passenger vehicles. 

While some mechanical failures can occur unexpectedly, trucking companies must still complete full inspections of large commercial trucks before they begin a commute to ensure proper maintenance and avoid preventable accidents. According to truck accident lawyers at Liles White, a New Mexico personal injury law firm, a commercial trucking company can be held liable in truck accident cases due to failure to regularly inspect and maintain vehicles. Devastating and fatal truck accidents often occur due to negligent trucking companies failing to ensure their commercial vehicles are adequately maintained, cargo is properly loaded, and truck drivers are not fatigued or distracted. 

The following are four ways poor truck maintenance can result in devastating truck accidents: 

Brake Failure

Brake failure on any vehicle can be very dangerous, and even more catastrophic when occurring on large commercial trucks. Large 18-wheeler trucks require a routine inspection to make sure all brakes are functioning properly. Ensuring that the brakes are in good working condition each time before a commercial truck heads on the road is critical to prevent dangerous accidents caused by brake failure. With the amount of weight large semi-trucks carry, it requires a longer amount of time and larger distance to come to a complete stop. This requires properly functioning brakes and regular inspection since the brakes on a large 18-wheeler truck go through much more wear and tear than a typical passenger vehicle. 

Worn Out Tires

Tires that are not regularly maintained is a large factor which can cause truck accidents. Commercial semi-trucks are often traveling long distances and carrying heavy cargo which can cause the tires to deteriorate more quickly than a passenger motor vehicle. Because of this, it is important to inspect all tires and ensure they have sufficient tread to prevent tire blowouts. Poor tire maintenance can also cause rollover accidents which are one of the leading fatal truck accidents. Making sure that the truck tires are regularly maintained, whether being replaced or rotated, can prevent hazards for other drivers on the road. 

white 18-wheeler semi truck driving on the road

Broken or Damaged Lights

While a broken taillight may seem minor, properly functioning lights are critical for large trucks which drive during the night. The large size and weight of 18-wheeler trucks alone is a main reason why truck accidents end up being catastrophic or fatal when involving passenger motor vehicles. Because of this, ensuring visibility on the road with fully functioning headlights, taillights, and turn signals is important for 18-wheeler trucks to maintain in order to reduce the risk of collisions especially when driving at night. 

Steering Wheel Malfunction

Steering wheel failure in 18-wheeler trucks can be extremely dangerous on the road as it causes truck drivers to lose control of the large commercial vehicle. “Loss of power steering” is a type of steering wheel failure which is caused by a leak within the truck’s hydraulic system. When trucking companies fail to fully inspect a large truck before beginning a commute, problems with the steering mechanism may be apparent yet not safely addressed. Regular inspection of commercial semi-trucks can allow maintenance of any fluid leaks to prevent accidents related to steering wheel problems. 


While truck accidents can occur at any time or place, it is important to be aware of the common causes of dangerous accidents while driving on the road. Taking preventative actions and precautionary measures is the best way to practice safe driving in order to protect yourself and others on the road. If you have been injured in a truck accident, promptly seek medical care and contact a personal injury lawyer to find out how you can receive fair compensation from the liable party.