Top 7 Causes For Semi-Truck Accidents

In 2020, the most recent year for which there are statistics, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reported there were 415,000 semi-truck accidents. Thousands of them resulted in death, in most cases, the death occurred in the passenger cars. Thousands more people were injured so severely that their lives and the lives of their families were forever altered.

A fully loaded semi-truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. An unloaded truck is closer to 35,000 pounds with the minimum weight coming in at around 25,000 pounds. When a truck, loaded or not, slams into a passenger vehicle weighing approximately 4,156 pounds, the injuries suffered by the passengers are often catastrophic if they even survive.

7 Common Causes of Semi-Truck Accidents

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has identified common causes of semi-truck accidents. Some of the most common ones include:

1) Fatigue. Driving long distances is tiresome and often boring. Plus, truck drivers are often driving to deliver goods at a certain time and often driven even when fatigued to meet those deadlines, ignoring the rest times required by federal law.

2) Impaired driving. For some reason, the driver became impaired. Major reasons for this include:

  • Suffering some major health or physical event such as a heart attack, seizure, or other physical impairment.
  • Falling asleep.
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In 2021, three percent of truck drivers involved in a crash where one or more people died had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher

3) Distracted driver. This may be something as simple as adjusting the radio to a more serious distraction of texting. Even eating can be enough of a distraction to cause a crash.

4) Poor decision-making. This involves,for example:

  • Driving too fast for road conditions. 
  • Passing other trucks or cars when it is not safe. 
  • Improper braking. 
  • Following too close. 
  • Changing lanes without consideration of the blind spot.
  • Merging into the path of traffic,

5) Improperly loaded cargo. If cargo is not loaded correctly, it can shift easily when the driver changes lanes causing the driver to lose control.

6) Inadequate maintenance. This can be anything from faulty brakes to worn tires that blow out. Owners of trucking companies are required to periodically inspect their trucks and keep a log of inspection dates and of all repairs and upgrades that were done because of the inspection.

7) Inadequate training. Trucking companies are required to provide training or confirm their drivers are trained in how to drive a loaded semi, how to avoid shifting cargo, and how to drive a truck in bad weather such as rain or snow on the roadway.

If a truck accident is caused by inadequate maintenance or training, damages may be collected from the trucking company or others who may be at fault for maintenance problems.


If you were injured in a crash with a semi-truck, you need the assistance of a personal injury lawyer who can help you collect all the damages to which you are legally entitled. At Owens Law Office located in Oklahoma City, we serve all those who were injured on Oklahoma roadways or when traveling out of state. We offer a free consultation. Contact us as soon as possible to find out if we can help.

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