In 2007, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration released a groundbreaking report that showed the true causes of large truck accidents. Titled “The Large Truck Causation Study,” it is the first to examine all accident causes that contribute to commercial truck crashes. Researchers looked at a nationwide sample of 967 crashes. In these accidents, at least one truck was involved. They included 1,127 large trucks and 959 other types of motor vehicles. Deaths totaled 251 and injuries 1,408. Below are the top ten causes of the large truck accidents studied.
Surprisingly, driver fatigue was not as common as expected. Instead, drug use was the most common cause of accident. In 26% of the crashes, prescription drugs or illicit drugs affected the truck driver’s reaction time.
Speeding was also a common cause of large truck crashes, found in 23% of accidents. The force of impact from an 80,000-pound truck is made more deadly with each mile of increased speed.
Many truck drivers are unfamiliar with the areas they travel. For this reason, it is not surprising that 22% of the accidents involved a driver not familiar with the roads he or she was traveling.
Prescription and illicit drugs are not the only drug-related problems for trucking accidents. In 18% of the crashes, over-the-counter medications contributed to the accident.
Truck drivers are trained on checking blind spots and carefully checking all sides of the vehicle before making turns or other maneuvers. Still, many forget their training. In 14% of the accidents, at least one cause was the driver’s failure to check blind spots properly.
What was once assumed the most common cause of large truck accidents, driver fatigue, was present in 13% of the accidents studied. While not as common as expected, driver fatigue still happens often and causes many accidents.
Drivers often forget simple safety measures such as using a signal before turning. In 9% of the accidents studied, the driver engaged in some illegal maneuver, like failing to use a turn signal.
Distracted driving can also be a problem for truck drivers. In the study, 8% of the crashes involved drivers whose attention was taken away from the road by events outside the truck. Common distractions include roadwork or accidents.
Although drivers often try to evade crashes, big rigs are difficult to maneuver. Drivers who underestimated the level of evasive action needed contributed to 7% of the accidents.
Road rage is not a problem limited to car drivers. Aggressive driving contributed to 7% of the accidents in the study. Because of the size and bulk of large trucks, drivers who take part in such behavior cause deadly crashes.
If you were injured in a large truck accident, contact one of our experienced attorneys as soon as possible. Our attorneys will take a personal interest in understanding your case and helping you recover financial damages that may pay for your medical costs, lost wages and more.