Commercial trucks are less likely to be involved in collisions than smaller vehicles like passenger cars, vans and pickup trucks. When truck accidents do occur, though, the results are often catastrophic. These large and heavy vehicles can easily destroy smaller vehicles in a crash, and drivers and passengers in these vehicles can be injured or killed while truck drivers often walk away unscathed or with only minor injuries.
Truck accidents often have three main causes: equipment failure, driving errors and trucking company policies. A commercial truck consists of many operating systems that not only must work correctly, but also be inspected on a regular basis in accordance with federal and state regulations. If any operating system malfunctions while a truck is on the road, the driver may find it difficult to maintain control of the vehicle, which can result in an accident. If defective equipment caused a truck accident, then the mechanic or shop that made the repairs or the installer of any failed truck parts can be held liable.
Driving errors also cause many accidents, even though truck drivers are trained not only to recognize traffic and road conditions that raise the chances of an accident, but also learn techniques to avoid accidents. Some truck drivers still deviate from safe driving practices, and this often results in accidents. Certain behaviors are also likely to cause accidents, including distracted driving, impaired driving, speeding and failure to observe traffic control devices such as stop lights.
Trucking company policies and attitudes can also cause truck accidents. Truck drivers follow company policies that sometimes encourage them to disregard federal regulations. Emphasis on meeting unrealistic deadlines and even fudging on driving logs are common examples of company attitudes that sometimes encourage truck drivers to perform in ways that put other people's lives at risk.
Source: Unsafetrucks.org, "Common causes of truck accidents," Accessed on Nov. 18, 2014