Truck Accident

Common Causes of Truck Accidents

Rolled over semi-truck - Pottroff & Karlin, LLC

Large trucks like 18-wheelers and semis can seriously damage smaller vehicles when they collide. Weighing up to 80,000 pounds, commercial trucks can also send many passengers to the emergency room with life-threatening injuries. At Pottroff & Karlin, LLC, we work closely with injured motorists to seek compensation for their accidents. Below, we identify the most common reasons why truck accidents occur, and we encourage you to reach out to our firm for more information.

Cell Phone Use

Texting and driving do not mix. For that reason, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has prohibited truckers from using hand-held devices. A hands-free device is okay under the law, although any type of conversation will cause cognitive distraction. In fact, talking to a hands-free device can leave a trucker distracted for up to half a minute after they finish.

When a trucker uses a cell phone, they are less able to see the road, think clearly, or take defensive actions. For these reasons, it is deadly to text and drive.

Drugs and Alcohol

Thousands of truckers are suspended every month for using illegal drugs or alcohol. Trucking companies must give a trucker a pre-employment drug test and perform them randomly throughout the year. A trucker also needs to take a drug test after certain collisions. Any failed drug or alcohol test should result in a suspension.

Unfortunately, many truckers are driving while high or intoxicated. In a 22-month period, more than 72,000 truckers were suspended for use of illegal substances. These drugs can cause fatigue or delayed reflexes. Others cause blurred vision or hallucinations, which can also lead to wrecks.


Trucker fatigue is a serious problem and a huge contributor to truck accidents. The FMCSA strives to limit the amount of time truckers spend on the job each day. The agency’s hours-of-service regulations also set maximum hours for a week and include mandatory rest breaks. Studies have shown that being awake for 17 straight hours is equivalent to having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05. That’s over the limit for CDL holders.

Sadly, too many truckers are driving tired. They can fall asleep while the truck is in motion, or else their reflexes are so slowed they can’t brake in time.

Speeding & Going Too Fast for Conditions

A speeding truck takes more time to come to a stop. For that reason, a trucker can slam into cars even if he hits the brakes in a timely fashion. There just is not enough room for the truck to stop completely before it rams anything in its way.

Also, driving too fast in inclement weather like snow or ice increases the risk of a jackknife or rollover accident. Trucks that can’t grip the road will also go out of control when they encounter slick surfaces.

Illegal Lane Changes

Tractor-trailers have large blind spots, and truckers must use caution when changing lanes on the highway. Sadly, many truckers are careless when trying to pass slower traffic, and they can run over a car.

Were You Injured in a Truck Accident?

Pottroff & Karlin is the firm to contact. Schedule a consultation and let us review whether you can bring a solid legal claim for compensation.