Semi-Truck Accidents
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Common Causes of Truck Accidents & Big Rig Dangers: Truck Driver Issues

In a previous article, we discussed how the size and weight of a truck can lead to accidents on the highway. However, the simple bulk of a big rig is only one issue that results in deadly semi accidents. In a significant number of cases, the truck collision is caused by the truck driver himself.

How Truck Drivers Cause Crashes

Red Truck Error ButtonThere are several common causes of truck accidents in which the truck driver is at fault, including the following:

  • Speeding. This may be the most common cause of truck accidents, despite its simplicity. Speeding in a passenger car is dangerous, but speeding in a truck that weighs up to 80,000 pounds can have devastating results. Trucks take a longer time to brake and when they lose control, they can take out a large number of vehicles around them.

  • Driver fatigue. Despite federal regulations designed to prevent tired truck drivers, sleepy big rig drivers are still on the road. Since driving is their job and they get more money the more they drive, drivers are often caught falsifying their trucker logs and staying on the road for far too long to drive safety. Being tired at the wheel is just as dangerous as being drunk at the wheel.

  • In-cab distractions. It can get lonely driving a big rig across the country and back for a living, and truckers have come up with a number of novel ways to keep busy on the road. Unfortunately, many of these ways are distracting to their job. Mini-televisions, CB radios, cell phones, and other mobile devices can take their attention off the road and can easily cause truck accidents.

  • Driving under the influence. Some truck drivers take stimulants so that they can drive longer without getting sleepy. Others may be on prescription drugs that make them tired or less responsive. Truckers are not allowed to have a blood alcohol level above 0.02 percent, but even still, there are drunk and drugged truckers on the road every day.

If you were injured in a truck crash and you suspect truck driver error or negligence was the cause, contact the Indiana truck crash attorneys at Keller & Keller. They will gather the evidence needed to prove your case and get you the compensation you deserve.


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Why are semi-trucks so dangerous?

Drowsy Truck Driver Statistics

  • Studies have shown that being awake for a long period of time (18 hours) will leave a driver with the motor reflexes of someone who has a BAC level of 0.08%, putting them at equal risk of crashing.
  • Commercial trucks account for a small percentage of registered vehicles on our roadways, yet account for an alarming number of passenger vehicle accidents that involve death. (According to a 1999 report by the NHTSA, large trucks accounted for 3% of the registered vehicles on our highways, however, they were responsible for 13% of passenger vehicle deaths.)
  • Fatigue and drowsy driving is said to be a contributing factor in as many as 30-40% of all commercial truck accidents.
  • A 1995 National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) study found that of 107 heavy truck crashes, fatigue was a prominent factor in 75% of the run-off-the-road crashes, with 68% of long-haul drivers and 49% of short haul drivers suffering fatigue-related crashes.
  • A commerical truck driver who skips mandated rest breaks and sleep, greatly increases the likelihood of their being involved in an accident due to drowsiness. Additionally, a truck driver's ability to gain proper restorative sleep is affected even if they try to "catch up" on sleep when they have a day off.
  • Australian research and on-site investigations over the last several years have determined that, overall, one crash in every five among truck drivers is due to falling asleep at the wheel and that up to 30% of truck crash fatalities on rural roads are due to sleep deprivation.
  • The risk of a crash effectively doubles from the eighth to the tenth hour of driving, and doubles again from the tenth to the eleventh hour of driving alone. (FMCSA, 2000).

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