Common Causes of Truck-Related Accidents

Vehicle accidents are complex events, especially when semi-trucks are involved.

In the last 5 years alone, there have been 25,000 crashes involving large trucks and buses throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Over 500 of these crashes have involved fatal injuries. Driving a tractor-trailer or other type of commercial vehicle is dangerous, and requires much more skill and care as opposed to driving a regular car. There is a special license required to drive a commercial vehicle, medical certifications are necessary, hours of driving are monitored and limited, cargo weight is restricted, and tractor-trailer maintenance must be documented.

A study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), researchers noted three other major types of “critical events” that led to truck-related accidents:

Running out of the travel lane into another lane or off the road

Colliding with the rear end of another vehicle in the truck’s travel lane

vehicle control

Why do these events commonly occur? The most common causes of crashes involving large trucks and buses usually fall into the following categories: driving too fast for conditions or speeding, driver fatigue, hours of service violations, vehicle maintenance (including inadequate tires and tire check rules), driver distraction, following too closely, or inadequate evasive action/failure to keep the large rig under control in an emergency situation.


Inclement weather such as rain, ice and snow conditions can reduce driver visibility and create slippery road conditions. Vehicles may have more difficulty stopping and may travel unexpectedly into other lanes of traffic. Read more about weather and other environmental factors that may lead to truck accidents.

Truck Driver Behavior

In addition to dealing with many more blind spots, tractor trailers are much heavier than other vehicles. Truck drivers must be diligent on the roads at all times. However, drug and alcohol abuse, fatigue, and driver distraction contribute to crashes every year. Read more about dangerous truck driver behavior.

Overloaded or Unbalanced Trailers

Trucking companies must carefully load cargo into their trailers. Overloading a trailer or failing properly balance the cargo weight can affect the driver’s ability to handle the vehicle while increasing a truck’s chance of turning over. Read more about the risks associated with overloaded and unbalanced trailers.

Sadly, the sheer size and weight of tractor trailers often make truck-related accidents deadly. If you were injured or a loved one was killed in a crash involving a tractor trailer, our legal team can help you take the next step toward obtaining justice and compensation. Contact the truck accident lawyers at Ostroff Injury Law today.

Regardless of the cause of the crash, a majority of trucks on the road are part of large companies that profit greatly from the cargo being transported. For this reason, when a large truck is involved in a crash, the companies have the resources to have lawyers and experts at the scene to protect their interests within hours. The lawyer and experts are called to document the scene, take statements and preserve evidence to fit the needs of the trucking companies, not the interests of those that were injured.

To successfully protect the rights of the injured, the trucking team at Ostroff Law can and will respond to the scene within hours with the appropriate trucking experts to protect those that were hurt. Hiring the right lawyers NOW is critical to protecting your rights. Waiting to retain a lawyer or considering a local lawyer that does not specialize in trucking cases will give the trucking companies an advantage from the start that may result in a lost case or a settled at a much lesser sum of money.