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Montgomery & Bucks County Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Sunday, October 1, 2017

What Are The Top Causes of Commercial Truck Driving Accidents?

Commercial truck accidents are not quite the same as regular car crashes. A collision with a passenger vehicle such as a taxi or an Uber is very different from a collision with an 18-wheeled, 80,000-pound truck. The sheer mass and weight of the truck can magnify the impact of the crash, leading to serious injury or even death.

Many truck accidents could have been avoided if the drivers were fully alert, the trucks had proper functioning equipment or the road was well-maintained. If you or someone you love was injured or killed in a truck accident, you may have a case for compensation. Speak with a Pennsylvania truck accident lawyer to find out.

Commercial Truck Accident Statistics and Trends

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) maintains an annual record of commercial truck crashes.

In their 2015 report, there were 415,000 reported large truck crashes in the country. Of these, 3,598 were fatal while 83,000 resulted in injuries.

An estimated 60% of all fatal large truck accidents occurred on rural roads.

Over 80% of all fatal and nonfatal large truck accidents occurred on weekdays. Over 65% of these accidents happened during daytime (6:00 am to 6:00 pm).

What’s even sadder is that large truck crashes are on the rise. The 4,311 figure for large trucks and buses involved in fatal crashes in 2015 was 8% higher than in 2014 and 26% higher than in 2009. Large truck and bus injury crashes also increased by 62% between 2009 and 2015.

Top Causes of Commercial Truck Accidents

FMCSA conducted a study on the leading causes of large truck crashes. Using sampled large truck crash data from 2001 and 2003, FMCSA found that the most common events leading to large truck accidents were:

  • Running out of the travel lane (into another lane or off the road)
  • Loss of control of the vehicle because of over speeding, equipment failure, cargo shifts, poor roads and other reasons
  • Rear-ending other vehicles on the truck’s travel lane

In all large truck accidents, FMCSA found that the reason for the accident could be traced to the truck 55% of the time. Here, reason could either be directed to the driver 87% of the time, the truck or vehicle 10% of the time or the environment 3% of the time.

The driver was at fault because of:

  • Non-performance where the driver slept on the wheel, was physically impaired, was driving under the influence, was fatigued or was disabled by a seizure or heart attack.
  • Poor recognition where the driver was distracted, inattentive, did not observe the situation well enough or was multitasking such as driving while eating, texting, talking on the phone, tuning the radio or operating the GPS. A solution to this could be extra lessons on the dangers of distracted driving as is being implemented in Texas.
  • Poor decision-making where the driver drove too fast, miscalculated the speed of other vehicles, followed vehicles too closely, merged into traffic improperly or passed other vehicles without leaving enough space.
  • Poor performance where the driver overloaded, overcompensated, panicked or lost directional control. These may happen because of poor hiring or training of truck drivers.

The vehicle was to blame because of brake failure, tire blowouts or poor truck maintenance.

The environment was the reason where the weather and road conditions were not ideal for driving. Poor weather may be caused by snow or sleet while poor road conditions include roads that have potholes or are unpaved.

Many truck accidents could have been avoided if someone acted responsibly, either the driver of the truck or small vehicle, the manufacturer of the vehicles or the agency tasked with maintaining roads or street signs.

If you or someone you love incurred serious injuries or died in a commercial trucking accident, schedule a consult with the Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers at Louis P. Lombardi II & Associates today.

 


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