What Can Cause An 18-Wheeler Accident?

An 18-wheeler accident can result in some of the worst injuries imaginable because of the extreme difference in weight between a passenger vehicle and a commercial truck. A fully loaded big rig can weigh as much as 25 times more than a standard passenger vehicle, so most cars don’t stand a chance in a crash with a big rig.

Given the potential for catastrophic harm, commercial truck drivers must always maintain control of their vehicles. The company that owns or employs the driver should also maintain the truck to ensure it is safe while on the road. However, despite precautionary safety measures, 18-wheeler accidents still occur, leading us to ask why.

This blog covers the different known causes of 18-wheeler accidents and what you can do if you find yourself in one. Also, if you or a loved one is involved in a collision with an 18-wheeler truck, do not hesitate to seek legal representation. Our truck accident lawyer at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law is always available to provide guidance and help you make the right decisions.

Contact us 24/7 at (713) 973-8888 or toll-free 1 (800) 444-5000 for a free and confidential case review.

Why choose our truck accident lawyers to represent you?

At Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, we understand the catastrophic nature of truck accidents and the devastating impact they have on victims’ lives. Therefore, we spare no resources when seeking compensation for our clients. We serve Houston and other parts of Texas, and Judge Bryant is Board Certified Personal Injury Trial Lawyer, as found by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

We have secured over $1 billion in gross recoveries for our clients and have the skills to negotiate a favorable settlement. 

Our legal team is experienced and trusted by past clients, leading to our 98% approval ratings. We know Texas laws and its legal system and will work tirelessly to help you secure a favorable outcome. So, if you need a reliable team that is fearless against trucking companies and their insurers, call us at (713) 973-8888.

What can cause an 18-wheeler accident?

Although commercial truck drivers tend to be safer than most other drivers, they are still involved in more than 3,000 fatal crashes a year. In 2021, over 500,000 truck accidents occurred across the United States. There are several risk factors that can contribute to a crash. Below are the top 5 risk factors.

Driver error

Driver error is the most common reason for a wreck. Commercial truck drivers are often pushed to their limits to arrive on time, so they may be incentivized into making dangerous maneuvers, speeding, or driving while fatigued. This makes it more likely that they will make mistakes that cause an accident.


Fatigue is a feeling of constant exhaustion, burnout, or lack of energy. Truck drivers who do not abide by the rest periods mandated by the FMCSA under the Hours-of-Service Regulations might become exhausted from being on the road for too long. This is dangerous, as fatigue impairs sound judgment, slows reaction times, and increases the risk of accidents.

Mechanical failures

Under federal and state law, a commercial truck company must regularly inspect its vehicles. This will reduce the likelihood of an 18-wheeler accident and ensure mechanical issues are identified before they become imminent threats. Common mechanical issues that lead to collisions are brake failure, tire blowouts, steering failure, defective brake components, and rearguard failure.

When a commercial truck wrecks, the state may send an independent investigator to verify whether the crash resulted from a mechanical issue. 

If mechanical failure is responsible for a crash, the vehicle or part manufacturer will face liability for any injuries. If the trucking company knew of the issue but still released the truck, it would also share in the liability.

Improper loading or overloading

Failing to load cargo properly based on the 18-wheeler’s weight can affect its stability and balance when moving. It becomes difficult for the truck driver to navigate curves and and to slow down if the driver encounters sudden traffic. Also, overloading a truck strains its mechanical components, making it hard for drivers to handle.

Inexperienced drivers

Trucking companies must train their drivers or verify their training and experience before letting them get behind the wheel. This is necessary because driving an 18-wheeler is much different from driving a passenger vehicle.  Even if a driver has years of experience with smaller cars, they might be inexperienced in driving large trucks. As such, it will be challenging for them to handle the size and weight of the 18-wheeler, increasing the risk of an accident.

Other known causes of 18-wheeler accidents are adverse weather conditions, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, distracted driving, road conditions, and failure to follow the flow of traffic. Sometimes, some of these factors combine to cause a collision, but they are not unavoidable. Trucking companies must ensure their drivers are well-trained, have good maintenance practices, and follow the FMCSA regulations.

Were you in an accident with an 18-wheeler? We can help!

After an 18-wheeler accident, ensure you make an accident report, gather evidence from the crash scene if you can, get medical treatment, and follow all your doctor’s instructions. Then contact our truck accident lawyer at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law. We will examine the case facts and inform you of the chances of success and your legal options.

We work on a contingency fee basis, so you don’t have to worry about upfront legal fees. Call us now at (713) 973-8888 or toll-free 1 (800) 444-5000 to schedule a free case evaluation.

Attorney Terry Bryant

Attorney Terry BryantTerry Bryant is Board Certified in personal injury trial law, which means his extensive knowledge of the law has been recognized by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, setting him apart from many other injury attorneys. The 22 years he spent as a Municipal Judge, Spring Valley Village, TX also provides him keen insight into the Texas court system. That experience also helps shape his perspective on personal injury cases and how they might resolve. This unique insight benefits his clients. [ Attorney Bio ]