Most common causes of truck accidents

According to traffic information reports from Louisiana State University, commercial trucks were involved in 3,625 accidents throughout the state of Louisiana in 2020. Of those, 1,251 caused injuries and 77 caused deaths.
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3,625
Accidents
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1,251
Injuries
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77
Deaths
The most common causes of truck accidents include:
Driver fatigue

Driver fatigue:

4.2%
4.2% of drivers reported falling asleep behind the wheel in the last 30 days.
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13%
13% of truck drivers were fatigued at the time of the crash.
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Distracted driving

Distracted driving:

Truck drivers who text while driving are 23 times more likely to be involved in a “safety critical event". (FMCSA)
23
Times
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43%
43% of people who drive for work say they would answer or make work-related communications while driving, including texting, emailing and calling. (Travelers’ Insurance)
Driving under influence

Driving under the influence:

Alcohol
  • A truck driver who tests positive for drugs or a blood alcohol concentration of 0.04% or more, or who refuses to be tested will immediately be barred from operating any CMV on public roadways. (FMCSA)
  • Drivers must be subjected to the following types of tests: Pre-Employment, Post-Crash, Random, Reasonable Suspicion, Return-to-Duty, and Follow-Up. (FMCSA)
  • 3% of long haul drivers involved in fatal crashes had a BAC of 0.01%, and 2% of drivers had a BAC of 0.08%. (FMCSA)
Alcohol
Wide turns

Wide turns:

 
  • Failure to check mirrors
  • Backing up to complete turns
  • Entering a turn with the trailer too far from the curb
  • Swinging a truck out too far from the right lane
  • Entering turning lanes too quickly
Speeding

Speeding:

26%
Excessive speed is a factor in 26% of all traffic fatalities.
7.8%
Speeding violations for U.S. truckers increased 7.8% in 2018, for a total of 146,945 violations.
19%
Speeding was a factor in 19% (839 total) of the 4,415 fatal truck crashes in 2018.
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Driver Fatigue

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Driver Fatigue

Truck drivers often have demanding schedules and unrealistic delivery quotas, which sometimes leads to inadequate sleep and “hours of service” violations as they try to keep pace.

Drowsy truck drivers tend to have slower reaction times, reduced ability to concentrate, and impaired judgment, all of which increase the likelihood of truck accidents.

In some cases, truck drivers may even use illegal or over-the-counter stimulants to counteract their fatigue. These may help in the short-term, but can have dangerous long-term effects when drivers inevitably crash from their artificially alert states.

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Distracted Driving

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Distracted Driving

Smartphones and other electronic devices are frequently to blame for accidents. Data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) suggests that truck drivers who text while driving are more than 23 times more likely to be involved in a “safety-critical event,” such as a crash or near-crash.

Truck drivers who engage in any activities that take their full attention away from the road are putting themselves and everyone around them at risk. In addition to texting, truck drivers can also be dangerously distracted by global positioning systems (GPS), dashboard controls, and even job-related electronic logging devices.

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Driving Under the Influence

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Driving Under the Influence

Many truck drivers work long hours in relative isolation, which sometimes leads to chronic boredom, loneliness, and depression. Sadly, some truckers turn to alcohol or drugs as quick, reliable fixes for their low spirits, which can seriously hinder their ability to make safe decisions behind the wheel.

Some truck operators also abuse both legal and illegal substances to cope with taxing work schedules that disrupt normal sleep and wake cycles. Drivers may use stimulants like methamphetamine or cocaine to fight drowsiness and then need depressants such as alcohol or marijuana to sleep afterward, creating a vicious cycle of dependency and dangerously impaired driving.

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Wide Turns

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Wide Turns

Because of their considerable length and limited turning ranges, commercial trucks require more space and time to make both right- and left-hand turns. These wide turns require experience and concentration to complete safely, and when truck drivers are negligent in making wide turns, serious accidents can occur.

If truck drivers do not leave enough space for a wide turn, they may block the flow of other lanes of traffic and cause devastating side-impact or underride collisions. Negligent truck drivers who fail to stay within designated turning lanes can also veer into nearby lanes and crush or collide with other vehicles.

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Speeding

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Speeding

Since commercial trucks are so large and heavy, drivers need more time and distance to slow down, stop, or react quickly in emergency situations. This means that speeding is especially risky for truck drivers since even a few feet can mean the difference between a safe stop and a catastrophic rear-end collision.

Not only are commercial truckers responsible for observing posted speed limits, they also have a duty to slow down even more in certain conditions. If trucks are driving through tight curves or on wet roads, truck drivers must analyze the conditions and respond appropriately by slowing down to avoid disastrous rollover accidents or hazardous hydroplaning scenarios.

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