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Why do truck accidents happen?

Truck accidents can be devastating for the injured victims. Because of the huge size and weight disparity between a fully loaded big rig and the average passenger vehicle, injuries from these crashes tend to be serious, resulting in a long, painful recovery and massive medical bills. While waiting for your injuries to heal, you, for better or for worse, have an abundant amount of time to think.

Your thoughts may turn  to why the accident happened. Though individual circumstances vary from crash to crash, there are some reasons that have proven common to many of the tens of thousands of truck accidents that take place on America's roads each year.

Distracted driving

Many of us are guilty of looking down at our phones from time to time while we are behind the wheel, or reaching to get something off the passenger seat, changing the radio station or taking a quick sip of our morning coffee. This is a dangerous practice, and one that definitely should not become a habit. It's bad - and hazardous - enough when a small car's driver isn't focused on what he or she is doing, as this can result in a crash. Those hazards are magnified in a huge truck. Distracted driving means that our brains aren't tuned in to the road ahead, the traffic around us, weather conditions and other drivers, so we might not be able to react quickly enough to avoid an accident.


Truck drivers don't have an easy job. It is hard to handle one of those huge trailers, particularly when it is fully loaded (and can easily weigh 50,000 pounds or more) and traveling at highway speeds. The reaction times of these vehicles are much slower, particularly where stopping is concerned. It can take the length of a football field or longer to halt a loaded semi truck, and that amount of open space is exceedingly rare on our nation's highways. Going too fast for the weather or road conditions, weaving in and out of traffic, aggressive driving and not properly gauging distance to stop or turn can all result in accidents.

Truck driver fatigue

Truckers drive long hours, and sometimes cover hundreds of miles in a day. That can be exhausting and mind-numbing. This is why the federal government has put into place hours of service regulations that mandate frequent rest breaks. Even so, some drivers choose to skirt the rules and keep driving far in excess of their body's capabilities and legal limits in order to maximize profits. Falling asleep at the wheel of one of these huge trucks could mean a literal death sentence for an innocent bystander.

Driving under the influence

Due to their typically unhealthy lifestyle, abnormal sleeping patterns, and long, monotonous hours on the road, many truckers turn to various substances to either help them stay awake or to help them fall asleep once they stop. These include alcohol, stimulants, sleeping pills and over-the-counter remedies, all of which can cause attention deficits, curbed decision-making abilities and slowed reaction times.

This list is, of course, not exhaustive, and there are unique factual circumstances that require investigation of every truck accident. If you have been injured in one, seriously consider hiring an experienced personal injury attorney to protect your legal rights and ensure you are treated fairly.

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Ortega Law Firm | 361 East Coronado Road, Suite 101, | Phoenix, AZ 85004-1525 | Phone: 480-582-0981 | Map & Directions