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Causes of Tractor-Trailer Accidents in Pennsylvania

By: Anapol Weiss

Each year in the United States about 500,000 trucking accidents take place resulting in around 5,000 deaths. Those involving tractor trailers (also known as 18-wheelers) can be especially dangerous in a traffic accident due to their size, weight, and poor maneuverability on the road.

In addition to these characteristics, other factors may play into the cause of tractor-trailer accidents.

Causes of Tractor-Trailer Accidents


According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are at least 56,000 sleep-related road crashes annually. This can range from falling asleep at the wheel to sleep apnea to lack of sleep. To combat this, truck drivers are required to get a certain amount of rest to be able to be responsible for handling a large commercial vehicle.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration creates strict rest and driving rules for truck drivers to follow to ensure safe driving. These rules are accompanied by a law for drivers to log their driving hours and rest. However, many drivers fail to do so or purposely do not abide by the rules to keep on schedule. Lack of sleep can cause fatigue which ultimately can result in reckless and unsafe driving.

Speeding or Aggressive Driving

Speeding is the main contributor to more than 50% of the five million yearly car crashes in the US. Trucks transport a lot of our society’s highly coveted goods, feeding into a multi-billion-dollar industry and with these high stakes comes high responsibility. Often times truck drivers must report to their destination within a certain time frame and will get penalized if they are late.

Traffic, car accidents and weather are unpredictable and can cause the driver to lose time and risk losing money or getting penalized. Due to this, truck drivers will speed and drive aggressively to make up for the lost time and get to their destination in time to complete their transaction.

What Makes Trucks So Dangerous?

Trucks require a serious amount of attention when driving because unlike cars who have two blind spots, trucks have four. The largest blind spot on a truck is the right side which spans more than a full freeway lane of space. Whenever you are trying to get around a truck, merge carefully by using the left side lane to pass the truck.

Additionally, due to the tremendous weight of the truck, it is harder for a truck driver to make quick decisions to stop or merge in the case of an emergency so give the driver room. It is especially dangerous to tailgate a truck because you are unable to see beyond the height of the truck so if they must slow down quickly, you are at risk of slamming into the rear of their tractor-trailer.

How to Get Help

Truck accidents can create a magnitude of loss and often times can be prevented if all driving rules and regulations are followed. If you’ve been injured in a tractor-trailer accident, contact an experienced lawyer as quickly as possible. Due to the nature of the accident, there are many factors that could have taken place that increased the risk of unsafe driving. Leave it to your professional lawyers to take on your case and investigate the truck laws and cross analyze the driver’s practices.