In 2017, California saw 361 large truck accident fatalities and 41 of those fatalities were right here in Los Angeles County. As truck crash attorneys know, when injuries in large truck accidents are not fatal, they are often severe and debilitating. In a continuing effort to keep our roadways safer, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration conducted a large truck crash causation study and compiled a top ten list of truck accident causes when the truck was at fault.
Accidents caused by large trucks and the most common factors
When large trucks are at fault in accidents, the ten most common causes are listed below.
- Overweight: when a truck is overloaded and over its weight capacity, the truck may not function properly and safely. An overweight truck may move faster when traveling down a hill and require extra brake time. If the load is not properly secured, the load could cause the truck to become unbalanced causing loss of control, accidents, and rollovers.
- Making an illegal maneuver: Illegal driving maneuvers are obviously prohibited because they are illegal. Illegal driving maneuvers are dangerous because they violate the rules of the road and other drivers do not anticipate them. Types of illegal driving maneuvers include turning from the wrong lane, violating a traffic signal, and making an illegal u-turn.
- Inadequate surveillance: Truck drivers have many blind spots on all sides of their vehicles. Accidents happen when they make a move such as a lane change or backing up without making sure that no one is behind them or in the lane, they are moving into.
- Traveling too fast for conditions: This does not contemplate speeding as much as traveling too fast for the conditions present such as icy roads, heavy rains, and congested traffic.
- Inattention: Truck drivers spend a lot of time on the road and it takes work to keep focused and alert. When a truck driver loses attention, everyone on the road is at risk.
- Following too closely: No automobile should follow too closely to the vehicle in front of it, but when trucks follow too closely, the risk of accident and injury is greater. Large trucks take much longer to stop than you average passenger vehicle and their size and mass lead to devastating impacts in truck accidents.
- Misjudgment of gap or other’s speed: Accidents frequently result when a truck driver misjudges the gap between his truck and another vehicle or when the truck driver misjudges another driver’s speed. In these cases, a truck may turn left in front of an oncoming vehicle or merge into another vehicle’s lane when it is not safe to do so.
- Required stop: These are accidents that happen when a stop (red light, crosswalk, or work zone signal) was required before the crash.
- External distraction: When something outside of the vehicle distracts the driver, he or she loses focus and attention on the road, and sometimes accidents result.
- Brake problems: Brakes failing on trucks are not uncommon and when a truck driver cannot stop, accidents happen.
Truck accidents can cause severe and life-changing injuries. If you have been involved in a truck accident, our Los Angeles attorneys at the Law Offices of Howard Craig Kornberg are available to discuss your injuries and financial recovery options.