Los Angeles Truck Accidents Attorney

Different Types of Truck Accidents


An 18-wheeler is a big rig truck which is categorized as a commercial truck that carries a trailer. The difference between a semi-truck and an 18-wheeler is that an 18-wheeler contains both the truck and the trailer. The trailer of the truck carries/hauls cargo, or otherwise, freight. An accident that involves an 18-wheeler truck can occur due to a range of reasons, though, there are common causes. Some of the more common reasons for an 18-wheeler accident include: driver fatigue, lapsed truck maintenance, distracted driving, overweight loads or improperly loaded freight on standard loads, and reckless driving. 

Garbage Truck

A garbage truck is a commercial truck that is purposed with the collection and transport of residential waste. A garbage truck can become involved in an accident for a variety of reasons, though there are common causes. Some of the most common causes for an accident involving a garbage truck can include the failure to yield to other drivers, inadequate truck maintenance, distracted driving, and poor visibility. In specific regard to distracted driving, garbage truck drivers can become distracted when operating the mechanical truck arm when picking up and emptying trash cans or dumpsters. There is also the concern that a garbage truck driver may not be fully aware of overhead power lines when lifting a trash can or dumpster, again, leading to an oversight that can result in an accident. 

Construction Truck

Construction trucks span many different types of commercial vehicles used in construction. These types of vehicles include bulldozers, front loaders, trenchers, graders, cement mixers, backhoes, excavators, and equipment transport vehicles. Construction trucks are categorized as a GVW class (heavy class, Class 7 or 8), and also includes pickup trucks that are classed as Class 1, 2 or 3. Perhaps one of the leading causes for a construction truck accident is improper vehicle maintenance. As construction trucks are used for commercial purposes, such vehicles are under immense stress. A lack of vehicle maintenance such as lubrication of moving parts or the replacing of malfunctioning vehicle components can lead to an unforeseen accident. The construction zone, itself, can lead to an accident when considering, for example, a poorly designed construction zone (on-ramps and off-ramps), soil erosion that leads to inferior land stability, inadequate signage and/or improperly marked areas.

Other causes for a construction truck accident are similar to other reasons for an accident, such as distracted driving, poor visibility of other construction truck drivers, or aggressive driving that does not take into account other construction truck drivers at or around the construction zone.

Dump Truck

A dump truck is a truck that is designed for transporting raw materials that are used in construction. Examples of raw materials in construction include dirt, coal, sand, gravel, ores, and more. In short, any type of loose material may be loaded and unloaded by a dump truck. Common causes for a dump truck accident can range from distracted driving, failure to yield, inadequate vehicle maintenance (particularly regarding the hydraulic truck bed arms), mechanical failure of the truck bed arms, or overloading the truck. In addition, an unsecured load can also lead to an accident, whether from the unsecured load impacting a driver behind the dump truck, or because of a shifting load leading to unbalancing the dump truck. 

Delivery Truck

A delivery truck is any truck that is designed to make deliveries or transport materials. Common delivery trucks include flatbed trucks, panel vans, refrigerated trucks, and box trucks. In general, delivery trucks are small to mid-size and make deliveries regionally or locally, though delivery trucks can also serve national deliveries. Common reasons for a delivery truck accident can include making improper turns, failing to yield to other drivers, aggressive driving, driver fatigue, the failure to maintain the vehicle, an unsecured load, overloading the cargo, or poor visibility that leads to, for instance, not braking in time. 


A semi-truck is the truck or tractor that is separate from the trailer. A semi-truck, then, runs under its own power. A semi-truck accident can happen because of improper vehicle maintenance, poor visibility, distracted driving, driver fatigue (i.e., exceeding hours of service) or poor weather conditions. The most notable reason for a semi-truck accident, however, is that of driver error. Driver error involves the failure to yield, and this can be an oversight of the driver or could be an intentional move such as impatience. Improper turns are another major driver error and can happen when a semi-truck driver either improperly signals or takes a turn that is too narrow or too wide. Misjudging the distance between a semi-truck and other vehicles is another notable driver error that can result in rear-end or head-on collisions. Speeding, as a driver error, can lead to an accident because the semi-truck driver is not able to slow the truck in time to avoid a collision. Often speeding is most evident on off-ramps or on-ramps, though can also occur on curvy roads, hilly roads, or narrow roads. 

Trucking Rules and Regulations in California

In the state of California, trucking laws are covered by two departments: the California Department of Motor Vehicles, and the California Highway Patrol, or CHP. There are a range of regulations that regulate truck size, weight of the cargo, stops at weighing stations, qualifications of the driver, time spent driving and transporting cargo, as well as rigid requirements for inspections. 

These regulations ensure the safety of everyone sharing the road and minimize catastrophic truck accidents. Failure to adhere to these trucking regulations may cause stiff fines, penalties, and other legal consequences. . For example, if a truck’s cargo is overweight, the California Department of Motor Vehicles and/or the California Highway Patrol may impose a fine. Similarly, truck drivers can be penalized for working over 11 hours a day. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, has established rules for how many hours one can drive. Exceeding hours of service or time spent driving is dangerous because of the condition of the driver, such as drowsiness that may lead to a traffic collision or other accident. 

California Department of Transportation (CALTRANS) has specific signage posted along highways and freeways that truckers must abide by. These regulations differ, though, and can include a regulation such as adhering to a stipulation not to enter a certain roadway because the roadway is not equipped to handle a large vehicle like a truck. Here, the driver would be required to navigate to the next available entryway. Likewise, there are also posted signs that declare the maximum height allowance for overpasses and bridges that must be abided by. 

Consequences for violating trucking rules and regulations 

  • The issuance of a monetary fine. Fines can be issued for a variety of reasons, though all reasons would be for violation of the regulations. Common reasons for receiving a fine can be because of an overweight load, failure to adhere to equipment regulations such as updated equipment, or, as noted, not observing the regulations for hours spent driving. 

  • CDL suspension or revocation. A Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) can be suspended or outright revoked depending on how many ‘points’ a driver has on their license. Points are added to a driver’s license for an array of reasons, of which are commonly for traffic violations.

  • Impounding. As with a non-CDL vehicle, the California Highway Patrol is within its authority to impound a truck. A truck can be impounded for reasons such as operating the vehicle with lapsed insurance and/or outdated registration, or for dangerous operation of the vehicle. Dangerous operation of a truck might include barreling through an intersection without heeding traffic laws like ignoring a stop light. 

  • Revocation of service. In some scenarios, the California Highway Patrol can issue an out-of-service order. What this means is that the truck can no longer be used for transporting cargo. There are a couple of notable reasons for an out-of-service order, such as exceeding hours of service or operating a truck that is deemed to be in a dangerous condition to drive, like bald tires or improper maintenance on the hitch. 

  • Issuance of criminal charges. Similar to non-CDL vehicles, a truck driver can also be issued criminal charges. Often, criminal charges are issued for situations like a DUI, or in some cases, transporting illegal goods.

  • Incorrect use of traffic lanes. In the state of California, there are regulations for how truck drivers can use traffic lanes. There are two things to keep in mind; one, a truck driver must use a designated trucking lane, if there is one. Second, if there is no designated trucking lane, the driver must keep as far right as possible (the furthest lane to the right). There are also stipulations for how a truck driver may overtake another driver: in overtaking another driver, the truck driver must make use of the lane furthest to the right, or if not available, the lane that is closest to the lane that is furthest to the right.

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