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What causes most semi-truck collisions?

On Behalf of | May 21, 2024 | Truck Accidents |

Semi-trucks are one of the more pressing safety issues on modern roads. They are necessary for the domestic economy, but they generate concerning crash risk for other motorists. While any vehicle can potentially cause a collision, semi-trucks are so large that they can cause catastrophic injuries and completely destroy smaller vehicles.

Those in passenger vehicles are often wary of commercial trucks and may try to give them plenty of space. Despite how drivers attempt to prioritize their safety, they are still at risk of semi-truck collisions. That risk largely stems from the conduct of those in commercial vehicles.

According to a federal analysis of commercial crashes, more than half of the wrecks involving semi-trucks are caused by the bigger vehicles involved in them. What are the main causes of semi-truck collisions involving smaller vehicles?

Mistakes made by drivers

An analysis of commercial truck collisions performed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)  makes it clear that driver failure is the biggest contributing factor to such crashes.

Approximately 87% of the crashes caused by big rigs are the results of a driver’s failure at the wheel. In those cases, making the wrong decision given current traffic conditions is the most common issue. Recognition errors where drivers don’t notice other vehicles or pedestrians are the second leading cause of crashes. Non-performance is another concern. Drivers may fall asleep at the wheel or have a medical emergency that renders them incapable of operating the semi-truck safely. Performance issues, like panicking, caused some collisions as well.

Vehicle issues are another concern. Another 10% of the crashes analyzed by the FMCSA specifically involved issues with commercial trucks themselves. Tire blowouts, brake failures and other issues related to the maintenance of the vehicle could cause a devastating crash. Such collisions could potentially be the responsibility of the transportation company rather than the driver. A third party that provides parts or service on fleet vehicles could also be liable for crashes caused by poor vehicle condition. The remaining 3% of crashes caused by semi-trucks relate to environmental factors, like issues with weather or the road.

Most semi-truck collisions are preventable with better safety practices. Pursuing compensation is an appropriate response to a crash caused by a semi-truck, provided that the victims suffered their injuries as a result of another’s negligence and not solely their own wrongdoing.