What Are the Real Causes of Trucking Accidents?

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there were 2,734 fatal crashes involving trucks and buses in 2019. About half of those accidents involved a large truck and a passenger vehicle. 3,087 people died in those crashes.

Fatigue, speeding, drugs, and alcohol are major factors in motor vehicle crashes.

The Large Truck Crash Causation Study

In 2006, the FMCSA Office of Research and Analysis released the Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS), a study of 963 crashes in 17 states. The LTCCS confirms that speeding, fatigue, and driving under the influence are among the top causes of crashes.

The top 10 factors (in descending order) associated with large truck crashes were:

  • Interruption of the traffic flow
  • Unfamiliarity with roadway
  • Inadequate surveillance
  • Driving too fast for conditions
  • Illegal maneuver
  • Inattention
  • Fatigue
  • Illness
  • False assumption of other road user's actions
  • Distraction by object or person inside the vehicle.

Personal vehicle drivers can cause crashes by committing unsafe acts, such as:

  • Improperly merging into traffic, causing a truck to swerve or brake quickly
  • Driving in a truck’s blind spots (the “No-Zones”)
  • Changing lanes abruptly in front of  a truck
  • Unsafe passing or passing on the right of a turning truck
  • Driving erratically around and between large trucks

Trucking Accidents Are Often Complicated

Multiple factors can cause or contribute to truck crashes. For example, consider the following (hypothetical) scenario.

John, a truck driver with two years of experience, is looking for a certain exit. He’s not familiar with this section of highway. And he’s been driving for over ten hours, trying to finish this delivery before nightfall.

Seeing the exit late, he begins to slow and checks his blind spots in the mirrors. While he is distracted, a car changes lanes in front of him and slows as well, to take the same exit. John looks forward again, too late to react. He can’t stop in time and crashes into the car.

What caused the accident? Who’s at fault? What were the contributing factors?

What to Do If You’re in a Trucking Accident

Take care of yourself first. Get medical attention if needed.

Comply with law enforcement, answering their questions honestly and openly, but don’t volunteer additional information, don’t accept any fault and don’t discuss the accident with bystanders. Get a copy of the police report.

Make sure to see your doctor afterward. Some injuries may not be apparent until days later.

Most important, talk to an attorney with proven experience in large truck accidents..

Why Talk to an Attorney?

An attorney will help you figure out the cause or causes and who was at fault. Even if you were partly at fault, you may still be entitled to damages. Experts and accident reconstruction specialists may be required to understand and document events and factors leading to a large truck crash.

If you need the help of an attorney, call us at (417) 313-1130, (417) 319-2113, or (833) 600-0125 for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation. With 140+ years of combined experience, Johnson, Vorhees & Martucci is one of the region’s leading personal injury law firms.

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