Causes of Truck Accidents

Accidents involving large commercial trucks typically lead to devastating outcomes. Like automobile accidents, there are many causes of truck accidents involving large commercial trucks —tractor-trailers, semi-trucks, and delivery trucks. On the Kansas City roadways, that includes unsafe driving behaviors, equipment failures, weather conditions, and more.

Understanding the common causes of truck accidents such as unsafe driving behavior, truck driver error, weather, improper loading and more can help save lives and can also help individuals become more responsible and alert truck drivers.

Unsafe Driving Behavior of Passenger Vehicle Drivers

Drivers of passenger cars do not always consider or think about how a big rig truck performs on the roadway. They often treat tractor-trailers and semi-trucks the same way as another passenger vehicle, which can be dangerous to these smaller vehicles.

Common unsafe driving behavior that often results in truck accidents includes:

  • Driving in a truck’s “No-Zone.” This refers to blind spot areas behind and beside a commercial truck where the truck driver has limited or zero visibility.
  • Changing lanes abruptly in front of a truck.
  • Moving to the right of a truck that is making a right turn or making a left turn in front of a truck.
  • Merging improperly into traffic, causing a truck to brake quickly.
  • Unsafe passing.
  • Pulling into traffic from the roadside in front of a truck without accelerating sufficiently.
  • Driving between large trucks.

Truck Driver Error

Unsafe driving behaviors are not limited to passenger vehicle drivers. Any of these factors can lead to unnecessary risks and a truck driver’s inability to react quickly.

  • Overworked or overtired drivers make them prone to mistakes on the road. Driver fatigue is a common cause of truck accidents since truck drivers usually drive long distances for long hours.
  • Driver error caused by inattention, distraction, or substance abuse. Substance abuse includes the use of alcohol, illicit drugs, prescription drugs, and over-the-counter medicines. All can impair a driver’s judgment and coordination.
  • Speeding and other bad driving practices.

Drivers may need to break suddenly or immediately veer to another lane. When speeding, or driving drowsy or distracted, this is not always possible and can lead to an accident.

Truck Equipment Failures

causes of truck accidents truck driver error improper loadingEquipment failures relate not just to the design and manufacture of the truck, but also to mechanical issues. This might include:

Regular maintenance is required to keep up with the extensive wear and tear of these vehicles.

Truck Design Defects

If a truck is not designed well and bad parts are installed, like poor quality or failing tires, the chances of a truck accident increase. The manufacturers and the designers might also be held liable for the resulting injuries.

car accidents rainy weather weather conditions unsafe driving behavior

Weather Conditions

Bad weather — rain, snow, ice, fog – can hamper a truck driver’s ability to stop quickly and steer the truck to safety. Most weather-related accidents occur because the driver was driving too fast for the road conditions.

If a truck driver is not highly trained and well prepared for driving in severe weather conditions, he is likely to end up in an accident. Truck drivers need to learn the right braking techniques to prevent skidding and hydroplaning in bad weather.

Improper Loading

Overweight or overloaded trucks can result in loads becoming unbalanced. This can cause a truck to topple over. If the cargo is not secured properly, it can also fall off the truck into the lanes of traffic causing accidents.

Cargo loading teams and truckers need to follow specific industry regulations in terms of loading cargo.

Truck Driving Industry Practices

  • Inadequate training of drivers on driving techniques, safety concerns and defensive driving.
  • Violating the FMCSA Hours of Service regulations by encouraging more hours of consecutive vehicle operation than is allowed.
  • Unrealistic schedules and expectations.


Our successful track record means we have proven results for our clients.

  • $1.1 million total settlement for a driver struck from behind by a tractor-trailer whose driver had violated federal regulations for driving and logging hours
  • $500,000-plus settlements in cases involving inattention and fatigued truck drivers


Questions? Contact our staff at (877) 284-6600.

Rollovers: One of the Major Causes of Fatalities

When accidents involve big rigs, one of the risk factors is that it may roll over. Often rollovers are caused by driver error, such as:

  • Taking a curve too fast
  • Speeding
  • Fatigue
  • Inexperience
  • Improperly loaded cargo

Establishing Fault in Trucking Accidents

In the Kansas City area, the truck accident attorneys at Nash & Franciskato have the resources needed to fully investigate your accident with a large commercial truck. We gather evidence from things such as the truck’s onboard computers and global positioning systems, which help tell the story of how fast the truck was going, patterns of speed, and how long the driver has been on the road.

Our goal is to help you and your family put your lives back together by obtaining the compensation you deserve to restore your health, pay medical bills, regain a sense of security, recover lost wages, and take care of other serious consequences.


Personal Injury lawyer trucking driver error save livesIn the Kansas City area and across Missouri, when you have been seriously injured in a trucking accident you need a trusted resource who will fight for your rights. Our experienced truck accident attorneys handle all types of cases which include, fatal accidents, drunk or impaired driving, distracted driving, motor vehicle defects, and more. Contact our office at (877) 284-6600 for a free, no-obligation review of your case.

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Editor’s Note: This page was reviewed for content and accuracy on April 19, 2024 and was republished.

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