In 2012, there were 333,000 accidents in the U.S. involving a large truck, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In cooperation with the NHTSA and Department of Transportation, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) conducted a three-year data collection project, the Large Truck Crash Causation Study, which provides helpful insight into the common causes of truck accidents.
In sharing information about the incidence and causes of large truck accidents, the FMCSA hopes to be able to help answer questions such as how often drugs, alcohol or driver fatigue causes accidents, how often vehicle mechanical problems are associated with the crashes, and whether or not roadway design and adverse weather conditions are a significant contributing factor.
Meanwhile, drivers in Trenton and throughout New Jersey should be aware of the common causes so they can avoid scenarios that might increase risk of a truck crash.
List of Common Causes of Truck Accidents
When a truck collides with a car, the primary cause of the accident is primarily attributed to the truck in 44 percent of the cases and to the passenger vehicle in 56 percent of cases.
The top critical reasons for accidents involving a large truck and a passenger car are listed as follows, according to a 2008 PowerPoint presentation by the FMCSA about the study’s findings.
- A decision error, such as speeding or driving aggressively (42 percent of accidents where the critical reason was assigned to the trucker and 24 percent of accidents where the critical reason was assigned to the car driver).
- A recognition error such as driver inattention (35 percent trucks, 30 percent cars).
- Vehicle issues, such as with the brakes, tires, or lights (eight percent trucks, four percent cars).
- Overcompensation and performance errors (seven percent trucks, 19 percent cars).
- Weather- and roadway-related issues (four percent trucks, three percent cars).
- Driver failing to perform, e.g., falling asleep or sickness (three percent trucks, 16 percent cars).
Associated Factors in Truck-Car Accidents
The critical reasons listed above are those considered as the immediate reason for the crash and are assigned to only one vehicle in a crash. For further insight into the common causes of truck accidents involving cars, the FMCSA also provides a list of associated crash factors which they define as “all factors that might be important that were present at the time of the crash.”
Below is a list of top 12 most common crash factors, as well as the percentage of cases where each factor was cited to the truck and car driver, respectively.
- Brake problems (27 percent trucks, two percent cars)
- Traffic flow interrupted (25 percent trucks, 25 percent cars)
- Stop required before crash (21 percent trucks, 16 percent cars)
- Unfamiliarity with roadway (19 percent trucks, 10 percent cars)
- Inadequate surveillance (16 percent trucks, 14 percent cars)
- Traveling too fast for conditions (15 percent trucks, 11 percent cars)
- Illegal maneuver (12 percent trucks, 18 percent cars)
- Felt under work pressure (10 percent trucks, three percent cars)
- Distraction (10 percent trucks, 10 percent cars)
- Inattention (nine percent trucks, nine percent cars)
- Fatigue (seven percent trucks, 15 percent cars)
- False Assumption (six percent trucks, three percent cars)
Consult a Truck Accident Attorney in Trenton
There are several common causes of truck accidents, and they can be very hard to determine. There may be more than one associated factors provided per accident, further complicating matters. It’s important to preserve evidence after a truck accident to determine fault because the at-fault party is responsible for the damages.
If you or a loved one was involved in a truck accident, consult an attorney for help determining fault and filing a claim to recover a fair settlement. For a free legal consultation in Trenton, contact a truck accident attorney at Cordisco & Saile LLC today: 215-642-2335.