The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) conducted a joint study that identified the most common causes of accidents with semis, semi-trailers, tractor-trailers, flatbeds and other sizable commercial trucks.  This joint study is titled the “Large Truck Crash Causation Study”.  Without further adieu, let’s take a look at the most common causes of commercial truck accidents.

Distracted Driving

Truck drivers are not allowed to text or use any sort of hand-held phone or other mobile computing device when driving.  Sadly, plenty of truck drivers cannot resist the temptation to check their smartphone or other electronic device while on-the-job.  Distracted driving has the potential to cause an incredibly serious auto accident simply because commercial trucks are of considerable size and weight.


Too many commercial truck drivers operate these massive vehicles while fatigued.  Some such drivers are simply under too much pressure from their employer.  According to the federal government’s hours-of-service regulations, those driving large trucks are permitted to be behind the wheel for no more than 11 hours at a time.  Sadly, truck driver surveys reveal a surprising number of drivers are working beyond the permitted hours.  Such hours-of-service regulations are almost always the result of employer pressure.

Brake and/or Tire Issues

Brake failure is one of the most common causes of commercial truck accidents.  If a tire blows out, it will cause the truck driver to lose control of this massive vehicle and possibly slam into one or several vehicles.  Those who own large trucks have a duty to ensure these enormous vehicles are adequately maintained prior to hitting the road.


Nowadays, federally illegal drugs such as marijuana are being used across the nation.  Some truck drivers will be tempted to use marijuana as well as alcohol and other intoxicants as they travel across the country.  Prescription drugs also have the potential to impact truck driver performance.  Thankfully, most truck drivers are drug tested with regularity to ensure they are not using illegal drugs or driving while drunk.

Driver Error

Truck drivers error just like “regular” drivers who do not operate a massive vehicle for a living.  Common truck driver errors that lead to accidents include speeding, traveling faster than appropriate for the conditions, failing to adequately observe their environment, performing illegal maneuvers such as U-turns and following other vehicles too closely.

Highway/Road Problems

Poor highway or road construction has the potential to contribute to a commercial truck crash.  If this is the case, the truck driver is not completely at fault.  The liability might fall on a local or state government agency.

Shifting Cargo

The truck industry is governed by FMSCA regulations that dictate how cargo is to be loaded and secured.  If these rules are violated and cargo shifts cause an accident, the trucking business will likely be liable for damages.

Aggressive Driving

Some truck drivers simply drive too aggressively.  Weaving in and out of lanes, tailgating other vehicles and other aggressive actions qualify as forms of reckless driving.  If you notice a truck weaving in and out of traffic or performing another reckless act, contact the police right away.  Your call for help just might prevent a fatal truck accident.

Reach out to Our New Jersey Truck Accident Lawyers Today

Schibell & Mennie, LLC and Richard Schibell are here for all truck accident victims in the greater New Jersey area.  We will help you obtain compensation for all of your losses related to the truck accident.  Meet with our legal team so we can determine which party or parties are truly liable and push for a fair and just result.  Contact us today to coordinate a no-cost consultation.