4 Common Causes of Tractor Trailer Accidents


Tractor trailer accidents can be devastating tragedies for those unlucky enough to be victimized in them. As evident from annual reports published by the FMCSA, five of the most common causes that generally lead to these accidents can be identified as the following.

The Critical Driver Errors

A huge majority of all tractor trailer accidents are a result of critical mistakes made by the truck driver. These mistakes have been further subdivided into four categories by the FMCSA, which are:

  1. Non-Performance – Losing control of the vehicle after falling asleep, fainting, suffering a cardiac arrest/cerebral stroke/seizure, or on account of any other physically debilitating condition.
  2. Recognition – Inattentiveness, or distracted by something external or internal (glare from a reflection, usage of cellphones, etc.).
  3. Decision – Driving faster than safety limits, poor judgement of the other vehicle’s speed or distance, failing to compensate in accordance with on-road and weather conditions.
  4. Performance – Panicking under stress, overcorrecting while maneuvering, exhibiting poor steering control.

Driver error has been established as the leading reason behind tractor trailer crashes, but as you can see, the drivers are not always at fault. This is an important point to consider for victims or survivors of tractor trailer accidents because the lawsuit must be filed against the right party to win the maximum possible compensation amount. Get a free consultation from the Munley Law tractor trailer accident lawyers to figure out how you should proceed on this front.

Vehicle Related Problems

The second most common set of reasons responsible for truck trailer accidents are related to the tractor trailer manufacturing and maintenance standards. Poor manufacturing and maintenance standards often lead to braking system malfunctions, inadequate steering wheel response and blown tires to name just a few.

Unsecured Cargo

The origin of unsecured or under-secured cargo related accidents can be traced back to several possible reasons which range from neglect and incompetency to rushing and inadequate driver training. Whatever the reasons may be, the results can be deadly for several parties on the road.

Blind Spots

Trailer tractors are 53+ feet long and structurally massive, while the drivers are seated at an elevated position inside the tractors. This combination naturally creates several blind spots of varying distance in front, rear, left and right side of the driver. However, the blind spot is at its worst on the driver’s right, and this is the one which is responsible for most blind spot related truck trailer accidents.

It is highly advisable to never drive in the blind spot of a tractor trailer driver. It is possible to tell whether you are indeed in a truck driver’s blind spot by looking at the tractor trailer’s side mirror. If you can see the trailer driver’s eyes in the side mirror, you are not in their blind spot, and if you can’t, you should immediately try to get out of their blind spot.

Those interested in more information about the FMCSA reports referenced in this post can follow this link. The reports were last updated in 2018 with information from the NHTSA, the FHWA and the FMSCA’s own Motor Carrier Management Information System.


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