Due to their potentially disastrous outcomes, truck accidents frequently make the news and can cause anxiety among the general public. While truck accidents have a high chance of causing catastrophic damage, they can be major or minor and are caused by a variety of reasons. While there are many reasons for this, many people are left wondering, “What is the number one cause of truck accidents?”

The Main Cause of Truck Driving Accidents

There are many reasons why truck driving accidents occur. The number one reason, however, is driver error. Truck drivers are tasked with transporting goods great distances, so the risk of error is higher than the average vehicle driver. This is even more true since the vehicles they drive are much larger and heavier than other vehicles.

Factors such as long hours on the road, demanding schedules, and the inherent stress of managing heavy loads contribute to the potential for errors. Some of the most common causes include:

  • Fatigue and long hours. Truck drivers frequently struggle with fatigue, which is sometimes made worse by long drives and strict delivery deadlines. By restricting driving hours and requiring rest intervals, regulations strive to reduce this danger. Unfortunately, there are still cases of fatigue-related accidents, which can be a sign of non-adherence to these regulations.
  • Distracted driving. As drivers have more technology at their fingertips, there has been an increased temptation to drive while distracted, including adjusting GPS systems, texting, and making phone calls. These all increase the likelihood of an accident.
  • Sometimes, truck drivers are under pressure to meet strict deadlines. This can cause them to try to cut corners and drive recklessly or speed so they meet their requirements. Speeding reduces a truck driver’s ability to react to sudden hazards and can increase the severity of an accident.
  • Driving under the influence. Driving under the influence is illegal. However, it still occurs, and it happens in the trucking industry. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol severely impairs a truck driver’s ability to drive effectively and efficiently, increasing the likelihood of a major accident.

Mechanical Failures

Truck accidents are mostly caused by driver errors, but mechanical issues are also a major factor in collisions. Because of their high mileage and weighty loads, trucks experience significant wear and tear, requiring routine maintenance and careful inspections. When these steps don’t happen, it can cause a higher risk of accidents.

  • Tire and brake problems. A truck’s ability to stop safely can be negatively impacted by typical technical problems, such as worn-out tires and malfunctioning brakes. It is possible to stop these problems from getting worse and causing accidents by performing routine inspections and following maintenance plans.
  • Equipment malfunctions. Unexpected issues can result from malfunctions in crucial components, including the transmission, lighting, and steering systems in trucks. Proactive maintenance procedures and thorough inspections before trips are crucial for spotting possible equipment problems early on and fixing them before they endanger other drivers on the road.
  • Trailer problems. Other drivers are also put in danger by trailers that are broken apart from vehicles or loads that are not properly fastened. The dangers connected with trailer-related incidents can be reduced with the help of strict safety enforcement and appropriate training for loading and securing cargo.

External Factors

Beyond driver error and mechanical failures, external factors such as weather conditions, road design, and other motorists contribute to truck accidents.

  • Weather conditions. Inclement weather, such as rain, snow, or fog, diminishes visibility and reduces traction, making it more difficult to operate large vehicles safely. When the weather is bad, truck drivers need to modify their driving strategies and drive more cautiously to avoid accidents.
  • Road conditions. When roads are poorly designed or do not have appropriate signs, or when there are construction zones, these factors cause hazardous conditions for everyone on the road. Experienced truck drivers are often able to anticipate these changes, but hazards can pose an issue for newer drivers who are not used to navigating such difficulties.
  • Other drivers. Respect for one another and observance of traffic laws are essential for interactions between trucks and smaller cars on the road. Truck accidents are more likely to occur in situations where drivers are aggressive, such as tailgating, speeding, failing to yield, or making incorrect lane changes.


Q: What Should I Do if I’m Involved in a Truck Accident?

A: If you are involved in a truck accident, seek medical assistance as soon as possible after making sure everyone is safe, including yourself. Inform law enforcement about the collision and share your information with the truck driver. If at all possible, document the scene with pictures and witness accounts. Speak with your insurance provider and consider seeking legal advice from a Hawthorne truck accident attorney.

Q: What Trucking Company Has the Highest Percentage of Accidents?

A: Data on the trucking company with the highest accident percentage varies by location and over time. Due to circumstances, including fleet size, operational procedures, and safety regulations, companies may have differing safety records. The percentage of a company’s accidents will also depend on the size of the company and the number of jobs they do during a given time period.

Q: What Is the Leading Cause of Trucking Accidents?

A: The leading cause of trucking accidents is driver error. Driver error can happen for a number of reasons, including distracted driving, driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, driver fatigue, and speeding. Because drivers are usually driving long distances for extensive periods of time, the risk of driver error is higher than for those driving smaller cars.

Q: What Truck Has the Most Accidents?

A: The exact statistics about the truck model with the highest accident rate can change and depend on things like driver conduct, maintenance habits, and how popular the model is. It can be difficult to pinpoint statistics, as accidents are caused by a number of factors that are outside of the type and model of the truck. Most accidents are caused by driver error, and a good portion are caused by external factors.

Contact McLachlan Law, APC, Today

If you or someone you know has been involved in a trucking accident, assistance is available. McLachlan Law, APC, can help you with your next steps. Contact us today for more information.