Head-On Truck Accidents: Why They Happen

Because they are the largest vehicles on our roads and highways, trucks pose the greatest danger to motor vehicle drivers and occupants. While any accident with a truck can be serious, the results can be disastrous when an 80,000-pound fully-loaded truck smashes into the front end of a 5,000 pound passenger vehicle. Head-on truck collisions were the leading cause of truck crash deaths in 2014, causing 2,152 fatalities—57.5 percent of all deaths in truck accidents. Victims who survive can suffer long-term injuries, such as back, neck, and spinal injuries, paralysis, traumatic brain injury and other head injuries, and serious fractures.

How Do Negligent Truckers Cause Head-On Collisions?

Truck driver error is often the underlying cause of head-on crashes. However, the negligent driving behaviors vary. Some of the ways truckers continue to cause these wrecks include:

  • Wrong-way driving. When a truck driver goes the wrong way on a highway exit or entranceway or one-way street, the likely consequence is a terrifying head-on collision.
  • Speeding. Trucks take longer than passenger vehicles to slow down and stop. When a truck driver is speeding, he may be unable to slow down or stop when he needs to and could lose control, slamming right into oncoming traffic.
  • Drowsy driving. Even when truckers comply with federal regulations governing how long they can drive, they can drive 10 hours without a break. When they are driving such long hours or violating the rules by driving longer, it can be easy for a truck driver to become drowsy or fall asleep for a few seconds or more. During these split seconds, his truck can crash head-on into another vehicle.
  • Distracted driving. Whenever a truck driver’s eyes and mind are on things like eating and drinking, talking on a cellphone, or looking at a GPS, he can unknowingly drift into oncoming traffic.
  • Intoxicated driving. If a trucker is impaired by drugs or alcohol, his reaction time, vision, alertness, and general driving skills are reduced—all necessary to avoid causing a fatal head-on collision.
  • Brake failure. A trucker could lose control of this truck and hit oncoming vehicles if his brakes malfunction due to lack of maintenance and repair. Some trucking companies allow trucks with defective brakes to be driven and, even worse, depower the brakes to reduce wear and tear despite the reduction in the brakes’ effectiveness.

If you were involved in a head-on truck accident, we invite you to call our office to schedule an appointment to discuss your situation and your options for filing a claim for compensation.