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Truck accidents

What Are Causes of Commercial Truck Accidents

Most 18-wheeler wrecks result from negligence

The Hope Law Firm, PLC is a West Des Moines personal injury law firm that represents seriously injured clients throughout Iowa. Our legal team conducts a full investigation of tractor-trailer accident claims. Typically, we review data from the truck’s black box and consult with engineers to reconstruct what happened prior to and during the crash.

We fight for the compensation our clients deserve in all types of truck cases. If you were injured in an accident, you can count on Hope.

Overloaded truck and falling debris

Corporations often put their bottom lines ahead of safety. Vendors and transport companies can cut costs by hauling as much as possible in fewer trips. To do this, they may rush in loading the trailer and pile up goods in a dangerously imbalanced way or fail to adequately secure the load. An improperly or overloaded trailer may cause a truck to roll over or spill debris onto the roadway, creating serious hazards for other motorists.

Cellphone use by truck drivers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently updated its regulations governing the use of cellphones and texting by truck drivers. Under FMCSA rules, a commercial vehicle driver is prohibited from using a handheld mobile phone, including:

  • Holding the device with even one hand to place a call
  • Dialing the phone, except pressing a single speed-dial button
  • Maneuvering out of a seated position to answer or reach for the phone

Runaway trailers are also a serious problem. Worn brakes, slick pavement or a broken hitch can leave a truck driver helpless to stop the heavy vehicle or to keep its trailer from jackknifing. Once the driver loses control, the rig can cause a path of destruction until it runs into a solid object, such as a car, pole or tree.

Tire blowout and worn tires

Tractor-trailer corporations have a duty to maintain their fleets, including the trucks’ brakes, tires, hitches, and other mechanics. Bare tires provide inadequate traction, increasing the risk that the truck may slide, especially on icy, snowy or wet roads. In addition, a blowout can cause the tractor-trailer to flip or spin out of control.

Driver fatigue

Driving while tired is not only dangerous; for truckers, it is also illegal. The FMCSA imposes strict hours-of-service (HOS) rules on commercial vehicle drivers, including:

  • 11-hour daily driving time limit
  • 14-hour work shift limit 
  • 70-hour maximum workweek
  • Mandatory 30-minute break during first eight-hour shift
  • Sleeping berth regulations

Many drivers ignore these rules, often because their employers pressure them to forgo sleep to make a deadline.

Learn more about common causes of commercial vehicle accidents

The Hope Law Firm, PLC investigates what caused your big-rig accident and builds a strong case for you to obtain the maximum possible compensation for your damages. At your complimentary case evaluation, a personal injury lawyer advises you of your rights and develops a plan of action for pursuing your claim. Call our law firm at (515) 298-5056 or contact us online to meet with one of our attorneys.