Truck Accident Investigation: Root Cause Analysis


Truck Crash Investigation - Which Safety Rules were violated?

Whenever you see or hear about a crash of a semi-truck, we start with an analysis of what went wrong and how could it have been prevented. The Government regulates industries that require a high degree of safety for their daily operation. All highly regulated industries including the airlines, trucking, and railroads have in common certain built in safety systems, safety rules, and federal and state laws and regulations in order to protect us all and prevent people from getting hurt or killed. The key to figuring out what went wrong in a crash is looking at the safety systems and safety Rules and figuring out where in time the violations first occurred and how the crash or disaster could have been prevented. This is called a root cause analysis- figure out the root cause of the system failure or rule violation and you will know why the crash occurred..

Just like an airline pilot does a pre-flight inspection of the airplane, a truck driver must always take the proper amount of time and complete a pre-trip and post-trip inspection of a commercial motor vehicle. A proper pre-trip includes opening the hood of the tractor and inspecting the hoses and mechanical parts, checking the fuel tanks, the air line or Glad Hands and pigtail connections to the trailer, the truck frame, exhaust, drive shafts, universal joints, tread depth, the air brakes and the hoses along with many many other items. A proper pre-trip takes about 20-30 minutes to complete and then write a report if there are any problems. If the pre-trip is skipped, mechanical problems and equipment failures can be the root cause of a preventable crash, and the driver and company will be responsible because they violated the first safety rule by not conducting a proper pre-trip inspection.

In addition to mechanical problems, there are also operator or Driver problems that can cause truck crashes:

1. Driver Fatigue- Federal Rules tell truck drivers that if they are too tired to be driving, then they must get safely off the road and rest.

The truck driver is like the pilot of an airplane or the captain of a ship. When you have 80,000 pounds barreling down the interstate at 65-70 MPH with a driver who is too tired to be driving, this violation could result in an entirely preventable crash. 

2. Driver distraction-Truck drivers have all of these safety systems in place for a reason. To keep themselves and the rest of us on the roadways safe. Driver distraction is a choice drivers make- no one forces a driver to text and drive. As a matter of fact, It is illegal for a truck driver to text while driving. This type of distraction is one of the most dangerous on the road. Some law enforcement call it the new equivalent to drinking and driving.

Truck drivers must also use a headset that covers one ear only and cannot be dialing their phones or tablets while driving.

They are allowed only to use hands free phones when operating their trucks.

3. Driver Impairment- Truck drivers know that driving while under the influence of alcohol and or

drugs is a deadly combination. The statistics are of drivers on the road who are impaired from either drinking on the job, or the night before without enough rest, to the use of stimulant drugs to keep drivers awake long enough to complete their 11 or 12 hour shifts. Some drivers are on prescription medications and when these drugs are improperly used or abused, once again thee consequences can be deadly for anyone and everyone on the road. There is no excuse for a truck driver to make the choice to be on the road when he or she is impaired through the use of drugs or alcohol. Any crash caused by an impaired driver is another example of an entirely preventable crash because professional drivers know that they should never be driving while impaired.


Why are Truck Drivers considered "Professional Drivers"?

When considering the companies who own the fleets of trucks there are a multitude safety systems in place that if not properly followed, can also result in truck crashes. The first of these have to do with the hiring of Professional truck drivers:

1. Driver Qualifications- Hiring managers must check the qualifications of each driver who is hired. A commercial motor vehicle must have the proper license to operate a class A truck. There are special federal regulations which require detailed background checks on every driver a company puts on the road. When companies are in a hurry to make money and place profit over safety, we all know what is going to happen.

2. Driver Training- Truck drivers get trained at various truck driving schools and by their employers across the country. But that is only the beginning of their training. There is supposed to be constant safety training by the safety managers of trucking companies. If companies force their drivers to drive without the proper training, they are setting up the driver and other people on the road for disaster.

3. Driver supervision- Truck drivers must be supervised. Lack of supervision results in lack of testing and not following the federal requirements. 

Truck drivers must be properly qualified, trained, and supervised in order to protect us all and prevent mayhem and carnage on our roads and highways. When a company fails in any of these areas, the root cause analysis usually reveals they are placing profits over safety

Contact Us Today

At Mark Wilson Law, we focus our entire law practice on representing clients who were involved in a trucking accidents. When someone has a traumatic brain injury, we believe our clients are better served by attorneys who understand what it takes to represent clients who are seriously hurt in because of an 18-wheeler accident. We understand the laws established by the Federal government and adopted by the State of Oklahoma, and will make sure that each party who is liable is held accountable. You don't have to face this alone--–call today to schedule your free consultation. 844-652-4878

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At Mark Wilson Law, we focus our injury practice on Trucking Accidents, Injuries, and wrongful death caused by the negligence of Semi-Truck companies and poorly managed truck drivers. We are always ready to listen to you and help you navigate the legal system while you recover and your family heal from the catastrophic injuries which almost always result from Trucking Accidents.

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