According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, more than 3,600 truck accidents cause injuries each month. All drivers on the road need to be aware of the common causes of truck accidents. Our Denver truck accident attorneys explain the common causes of truck accidents.

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Driver error causes most truck accidents. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that 87 percent of truck accidents [1] result from driver error. Driver error includes poor decision making, a failure to recognize danger on the road, and the failure to execute driving skills on the road. Vehicle defects cause 10 percent of truck accidents, and environmental hazards account for three percent of truck accidents.

Overturned truck accident


Truck accidents happen because of driver error, defective equipment, and environmental dangers. Drivers may make errors like decision-making errors or driving performance errors that cause an accident to happen. Truck accidents happen because of things like fatigue, alcohol and drug use, reckless driving, equipment malfunctions, and driving mistakes.


Truck accidents can be prevented with the following steps:

  1. Leave plenty of following distance between your vehicle and the truck
  2. Don’t drive tired or upset
  3. Keep your vehicle in good working condition
  4. Avoid alcohol and drugs before you drive; know the effects of medication before you drive
  5. Remember that because of their size, trucks take longer to stop than cars
  6. Look out for debris scattered on the road
  7. Drive defensively even if those around you don’t


Some of the causes of truck accidents include:

Inadequate training – Driving a large truck requires a great deal of skill. All truck drivers need significant training to operate safely behind the wheel. A driver must also have training that is specific to the load that they’re carrying. Dangerous goods and items that may fall from the truck during travel require specialized training to ensure safety for all on the roads. Poor training can be the cause of a semi-truck accident. When a lack of sufficient training causes an accident, both the truck driver and their employer may be to blame.

Poor decision making – Drivers are called on to make decisions in a split second. They have to react when circumstances change on the road. When drivers don’t make good decisions, an accident can result. Speeding, tailgating, improper lane changes, and running stop signs are all examples of poor decisions that drivers can make on the road. A bad choice might be the result of poor training, or it might be the result of carelessness. Whatever the cause, driving errors can cause truck accidents.

Alcohol and drug use – Alcohol and drug use are two common causes of truck accidents. Too often, both truck drivers and drivers of passenger vehicles choose to take to the roads after they’ve been using substances. The results can be tragic. For commercial truck drivers, the standards for drinking and driving are more strict. A truck driver who chooses to operate after using alcohol or drugs may cause an accident.

Fatigue – Semi-truck drivers are often under pressure to work long hours. They might be paid by the mile. Drivers may be tempted to put in extra hours or drive when they’re sick or tired. Fatigue is a common cause of truck driving accidents. Fatigued drivers don’t think as clearly or react as quickly as drivers under normal conditions. A truck driver who causes an accident because of fatigue may be liable for damages that result from the accident.

Equipment failures – Semi-trucks are large, heavy vehicles. They must be kept in good working conditions to be safe on the roads. Truck drivers and the companies that they work for have a legal obligation to keep their vehicles in good working condition. A truck needs routine maintenance. When problems occur, they should be fixed before the truck returns to the roads. Equipment failures can cause truck accidents that cause harm to victims.

Reckless driving and careless driving – Too often, drivers take their safety for granted on the roads. Both reckless driving and careless driving can contribute to a truck accident. Each time a driver gets behind the wheel, they have the choice to drive cautiously or carelessly. Both truck drivers and passenger vehicle drivers can cause a truck accident through poor driving behaviors.

Debris on the roads – Objects in the road can pose a significant danger to trucks. Because of their large size, trucks have a hard time stopping for debris on the road. Some things, like wild animals, are hard to prevent from entering the roads. However, all drivers can ensure that they have a secured load to prevent debris from causing truck accidents.


Who is liable in a truck accident depends on who makes a driving error that causes the accident to happen. The truck driver, another vehicle driver, or even a pedestrian, can be responsible for a truck accident. Determining who is liable in a truck accident requires looking at what actions cause the accident to occur. If a person acts negligently, like violating a driving law or driving too fast for conditions on the road, they are responsible for a truck accident.


According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 3,600 injury accidents are caused by semi-trucks each year in the United States. The 3,600 accidents that are caused by semi-trucks each year include accidents that cause fatalities as well as bodily injury. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that driver error accounts for 87 percent of crashes.


Truck accidents can cause devastating injuries and losses for victims. If you’ve been hurt because of a truck accident, call the Bachus & Schanker, LLC attorneys for a free conversation with our legal team. You have rights, and you may deserve financial compensation.

Our attorneys can help you understand your rights. Justice is our passion. We won’t stop until you receive the justice that you deserve. We’re standing by to take your call. Call us today.


[1] [2] Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Office of Research and Analysis. (2007). The Large Truck Crash Causation Study – Analysis Brief. Retrieved 09 October 2019 from

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Written and Legally Reviewed By: Kyle Bachus

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Kyle is a member of the Colorado and Florida Bar associations and has served on the Board of Directors of the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association for more than twenty years in total. Over the years, Kyle has achieved justice for many clients. He has served on numerous committees and repeatedly won recognition from his peers at both the state and national level. He is proud of the role he has played in the passage of state and national legislation to protect consumers and is a frequent speaker and guest lecturer.