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Are Semi Trucks Dangerous?
7 Most Common Accident Causes

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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt
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Semi-trucks are more dangerous than passenger vehicles because their size and weight make them harder to control and maneuver. 

In this article, I will share my experience as an attorney and provide insight into the common causes of damage in semi trucks that I have observed in my past cases. I will also discuss the types of damages you can recover in these situations.

Quick Summary

  • Semi-trucks can pose a safety hazard due to their large size and weight, resulting in longer braking distances.
  • One of the main causes of trucking accidents is speeding. Driving a semi-truck at high speed can cause severe accidents that can be catastrophic.
  • Engaging in any task that diverts the attention of a semi-truck driver from operating their vehicle safely can pose a danger to both the driver and other vehicles on the road, just like texting or talking on the phone while driving.

Are Semi Trucks Dangerous?

A blue semi truck on the roadYes, semi trucks are dangerous because of their size and weight, which can lead to longer braking distances. In addition, they may carry hazardous materials that could cause explosions during collisions. If you get into an accident with a semi-truck, your chances of recovering damages will depend on the type of impact.

Semi-truck accidents have a high fatality rate, with 4,965 individuals dying in such accidents in 2020, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation [1]. Occupants of smaller vehicles, such as cars, accounted for many of these fatalities.

To operate a semi-truck safely and legally, truck drivers must adhere to the guidelines set by 

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration [2]. Failure to comply with these guidelines could result in legal consequences from the FMCSA. 

Although there are guidelines, semi-trucks can still pose a risk and damage property, personal injury, or even wrongful death. The exact reason behind such accidents may differ depending on the situation.

7 Common Causes Of Semi-Truck Accidents

A damaged semi truck due to accident

The FMCSA has identified some common causes of semi-truck accidents, which include [3]:

1. Alcohol Involvement 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in 2017, 4,761 deaths were caused by large truck accidents. Of these fatalities, 72% were individuals in smaller vehicles at the time of the accident.

Related Article: DUI (Drunk Driving Accident) Lawsuit

2. Speeding

Speeding while driving a semi-truck is extremely dangerous as it can lead to devastating accidents. Since semi-trucks need more distance to come to a stop than regular vehicles, the impact of an accident can be more severe.

Moreover, speeding also raises the possibility of property damage, traffic congestion, and the risk of severe injuries or fatalities.

3. Improper Stopping Distance or Tailgating

A damaged car due to tailgating accidentTailgating is extremely risky for any driver but especially dangerous when a semi-truck is involved. The driver’s view of the road ahead can become obstructed.

Due to the increased weight of a semi-truck, the damage in case of an accident will also be more severe.

When driving behind them, keep a safe distance from semi-trucks to stay safe on the road. If you notice a semi-truck driving too closely behind you, try to change lanes if it is safe. This will reduce the risk of accidents and potentially save lives.

4. Distracted Driving

When we think of distracted driving or truck driver negligence, we often focus on using smartphones while driving cars and trucks. Any activity that distracts a semi-truck driver from safely operating their vehicle can be hazardous for both the driver and nearby traffic, in addition to texting and talking on the phone while driving.

Related Article: Using Headphones While Driving

5. Driver Exhaustion

An exhausted and sleepy truck driver

If semi-truck drivers don’t regularly get enough sleep or don’t follow federal regulations that limit the number of hours they can drive before taking rest breaks, they may become tired and cause accidents.

Various factors can lead to driver fatigue, such as:

  • Sleeplessness
  • Overwork
  • Medication

Commercial truck accidents can often be caused by driver fatigue, which makes tired truck drivers dangerous on the road [4]. This can be easily avoided by taking simple measures, such as ensuring truck drivers take regular breaks, get enough sleep, and understand the side effects of prescription or over-the-counter medications.

Read Also: Special Safety Regulations for Commercial Trucks

6. Faulty Vehicles

Semi-trucks consist of numerous parts, just like any other vehicle. But because of their larger size and weight, the durability and reliability of the parts play a more crucial role.

Related Article: Semi Truck Brake Failure Lawsuit

7. Heavy Loads

Semi-trucks are dangerous mainly because they are much heavier than most other vehicles, with a weight of up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded. This is about 20 times the weight of an average passenger vehicle.

What Damages Can You Claim After a Semi-Truck Accident?

A truck driver talking to his lawyerThe damages you can claim after a semi-truck accident include economic and non-economic damages, such as medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and more.

The amount you are eligible to receive depends on the severity of your injuries and other factors related to your case. 

You may be able to claim for physical pain and emotional trauma that resulted from your trucking accident.

A truck accident attorney will evaluate your case and advise on whether or not you are eligible for damages related to these types of injuries.

“The truth is the American economy relies greatly on the trucking industry. While the benefits of the trucking industry are great for the economy, so are the dangers for the average driver.”
Christopher M. Davis, Personal Injury Attorney at Davis Law Group

Related Articles:

See all related personal injury and accident lawsuits our attorneys covered so far.


Is It Dangerous To Drive Next To A Semi-Truck?

Yes, it is dangerous to drive next to a semi-truck due to several factors, such as the truck’s size, weight, and blind spots. Maintaining a safe distance from commercial trucks is important to avoid accidents.

What Are Common Injuries In Semi-Truck Accidents?

Common injuries in semi-truck accidents include spinal injuries, traumatic brain injuries, fractures, burns, and internal injuries. These injuries can be severe or even fatal, and it’s essential to seek medical attention immediately after an accident.

Semi-trucks can be dangerous due to various factors such as their size, weight, and blind spots. In a semi-truck accident, victims may suffer severe injuries, including spinal injuries, traumatic brain injuries, fractures, burns, and internal injuries.

At Schmidt & Clark, LLP, we understand the devastating impact that semi-truck accidents can have on individuals and families.

Our experienced personal injury attorneys are committed to helping clients recover the compensation they need to move forward after a serious accident. If you or a loved one has been injured in a semi-truck accident, we are here to help.  



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