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What are the leading causes of semi-truck crashes?

On Behalf of | May 13, 2024 | Personal Injury

Commercial vehicles play an important role in the domestic transportation industry. They help move raw materials and products from their point of arrival to manufacturing or retail establishments. Semi-trucks are efficient and offer on-demand services for a host of different transportation needs.

Unfortunately, they are also a source of risk for everyone else in traffic. Individuals in smaller vehicles who must share the road with commercial trucks often worry about the possibility of a crash. When collisions occur between commercial trucks and passenger vehicles, the occupants of the smaller vehicle have nearly all of the risk. Drivers may need to learn about the causes of semi-truck crashes if they would like to more effectively avoid them. The following are the top reasons that semi-truck operators cause crashes with smaller vehicles.

Driver mistakes

Although commercial truckers have more training than the average driver and may spend hours on the road every day that they work, they can still make mistakes in traffic. According to an analysis of semi-truck collisions performed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), approximately 38% or nearly two-fifths of the crashes caused by semi-trucks occur due to a poor decision made by a commercial driver. They fail to leave adequate space between their vehicle and others in traffic or drive at speeds that are fast given road conditions. The mistakes of commercial drivers often have major consequences for the people they encounter in traffic.

Failure to monitor traffic

Recognition errors are the second most common source of semi-truck crashes according to FMCSA data. Approximately 28% of the crashes where semi-trucks are to blame involve the driver failing to notice something crucial in traffic prior to the collision. Some of these crashes may involve distraction on the part of the commercial driver, but others could be the consequence of a commercial truck having large blind spots.

Driver non-performance

Non-performance is the technical term for a scenario in which a commercial driver does not do their job. Often, non-performance occurs when a driver falls asleep at the wheel or experiences a medical emergency. The FMCSA blamed non-performance for another 12% of all crashes.

Vehicle issues

In approximately 10% of the crashes analyzed by the FMCSA, issues with the vehicle itself were the cause. Depending on the underlying cause of a semi-truck crash, the other people involved in the incident may have grounds for an insurance claim or possibly a lawsuit.

A driver or a transportation company might be liable for the economic impact a semi-truck crash has on others. Learning about what causes semi-truck collisions can help people avoid them or more effectively handle the aftermath of a collision, should one occur.