Excess speed or driver error cause most commercial truck crashes, according to The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s analysis of three years of data for The Large Truck Causation Study. The researchers looked at data from 967 commercial truck crashes in hopes of reducing the number of commercial truck related deaths.
Passenger vehicles cause many big truck accidents
Despite efforts to educate motorists on the “blind spots” of tractor trailers and the distance they require to stop, many motorists are still guilty of unsafe acts that result in truck accidents. Motorists changing lanes quickly in front of a semi, improperly merging, and driving in a truck’s blind spot caused many commercial truck crashes.
Impaired commercial truck drivers
The Large Truck Causation Study found that 26 percent of the commercial truck crashes reviewed were due to the truck driver being under the influence of prescription or illegal drugs. Over-the-counter drugs were a factor in an additional 18 percent of accidents. Drugs can cause drowsiness, delayed reaction time, blurred vision, and errors in judgment.
Speeding commercial trucks is a major problem
Approximately 23 percent of all commercial truck accidents involve excessive speed. A fully-loaded tractor trailer can weigh up to 80,000 pounds making it more difficult to control and stop when traveling at high speeds and raising the risk for a crash. The impact from a huge commercial truck traveling well above the speed limit often results in significant injuries or death to truckers and other motorists involved.
Driver fatigue causes approximately 13 percent of truck crashes
Commercial truck drivers must adhere to strict federal guidelines about how much downtime they have in relation to hours behind the wheel. They are often under pressure from trucking companies and customers to make deliveries on tight schedules. These stresses combined with traffic delays, bad weather, and unfamiliar roads can disrupt sleep and lead to driver fatigue which is involved in about 13 percent of large truck wrecks.
Distracted driving is a problem for truck drivers
Truck drivers do not get periodic breaks like most workers. The drivers often text, talk on their phone or read and post to social media to keep boredom at bay. Doing so while driving is highly dangerous and causes about 8 percent of commercial truck accidents.
An accident attorney can advise anyone injured by a commercial truck of their legal options.