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Causes of Fatal Truck Crashes

 Posted on December 16, 2023 in Truck Accidents

Blog ImageIt takes the driver of a large truck the length of two football fields, or about 525 feet, to bring a fully loaded tractor-trailer to a complete stop. If the road is wet or if there is inclement weather, it will take a truck driver longer to stop.

This is just one example of what may cause a fatal truck crash. With brick-and-mortar stores becoming scarcer, interstate commerce is increasing. With an increase in commerce comes a surge in shipping goods long distances and, expectedly, more tractor-trailer trucks on the roads.

If you have lost a loved one in a fatal truck crash, our Waukegan fatal truck accident lawyers are available to provide you with the support you need.

Common Causes of Truck Accident Fatalities

In 2021, there were 4,714 fatalities due to large truck crashes, with 68 percent of those killed being passenger vehicle occupants.

87 percent of truck accidents are caused by an error on the part of the truck driver. Even though other parties may be liable for your accident, our Lake County fatal truck accident lawyers would like to discuss the common causes of truck accidents caused by truck driver negligence:

Driver Fatigue 

Truck drivers are forced to drive for long periods of time without taking a break. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) allows commercial drivers carrying cargo to drive up to 14 consecutive hours. 

With demanding hours, almost two-thirds (2/3) of truck drivers have admitted to being fatigued behind the wheel at some point. After being awake for 20 hours, a truck driver has the same level of impairment as an intoxicated driver. 

Long Stopping Distances

As noted in the introductory example, commercial trucks with fully loaded rigs require the length of two football fields to come to a full stop. 

It is the responsibility of the truck driver to foresee hazards to stop the truck in a timely manner. When a truck driver does not have adequate room to stop, other motorists’ lives hang in the balance.


Truck drivers are notorious for speeding, especially while traveling downhill. Since a trucker’s trailer is usually fully loaded, applying the brakes on a consistent basis would eventually burn them out. 

This is not the only reason truck drivers speed. Truck drivers often speed to make deliveries on time. This, in combination with long stopping distances, proves to be a major hazard for all road users.

Large Blind Spots

It is estimated that 14 percent of truck accidents are due to a truck driver failing to check blind spots before switching lanes. Commercial trucks have large blind spots, about 20 feet in front of the cab and 30 feet behind the trailer. These blind spots make it difficult for trucks to see when a vehicle changes adjacent lanes. 

Distracted Driving

Truck drivers will communicate with his or her company on a dispatching device. Truck drivers typically do not pull over when using the dispatch, creating a distraction.

Other driver distractions may include eating, drinking, using a navigational device, using a cell phone, or being distracted by an object that is not related to the road ahead. It is no surprise that distracted driving accounts for 10 percent of all commercial motor vehicle accident fatalities.

Contact a Waukegan, IL, Fatal Truck Accident Lawyer

We do everything we can to protect ourselves, and so do victims of fatal accidents. If you have lost a family member in a fatal truck accident, our Lake County, IL, fatal truck accident lawyers want to speak with you. Contact Salvi & Maher, LLP online or by calling 847-662-3303 to schedule your free consultation.  

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Contact a Lake County Vehicle Accident Attorney Who is Ready to Help You

If you or a member of your family has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, contact our office. Call 847-662-3303 to set up a free initial consultation at one of our four convenient locations. There is no risk because we only collect fees if you collect compensation. With offices in Libertyville, Waukegan, Richmond, and Chicago, we represent clients in Lake County, Cook County, DuPage County, and McHenry County.

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