Understanding the Common Causes of Truck Accidents

Large truckThe statistics are pretty telling—if you are in a collision with a commercial truck, you have a far greater risk of injury than the trucker. In a study by the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), almost three-quarters of the injuries suffered in truck-related accidents were to the occupants of other vehicles (other than the truck). Only 24% of injuries and 18% of fatalities involved occupants of the truck.

Here are the most common causes of truck accidents, based on statistics released by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA):

  • Driving under the influence of drugs—More than one in four (26%) truck accidents involved a driver whose reaction time was compromised by the use of prescription or illegal drugs, including drugs used in an attempt to stay awake after long hours on the road. Over-the-counter drugs were a factor in 18% of large truck accidents.
  • Exceeding the posted speed limit—Almost as many truck accidents (23%) resulted when truck drivers exceeded speed limits and could not slow their vehicles down in time to avoid a crash.
  • Mistakes caused by unfamiliarity with roads—In one out of five large truck accidents (22%), the driver acknowledged unfamiliarity with the roads, and cited it as a cause of the accident.
  • Failure to check blind spots—Large trucks have an equally large blind spot. In 14% of the reported accidents, the driver neglected to properly check that there was no one in his or her blind spot.
  • Driver fatigue—Even though there are specific regulations governing the amount of time a trucker can spend on the road, many ignore or intentionally violate the rules. Though the numbers have diminished sharply for the number of accidents caused by driver fatigue, they still make up 13% of all truck crashes.

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