Toll Free:
866-303-1411

Top Ten Causes of Car Accidents Involving Big Rigs

Previously, we examined how passenger vehicles and large semi trucks could better share the road. We analyzed how many traffic accidents involving big rigs are not wholly the truck driver’s faults. In many cases, the automobile accident could have been avoided if the driver of the passenger vehicle had a better understanding of the limitations of big trucks. While most truck drivers are responsible drivers—that is their job—there are instances where the driver of the truck is at fault for causing an accident.

In 2007, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration published the Large Truck Crash Causation Study. In this study, an unprecedented amount of data was used to determine the top 10 causes of truck and passenger vehicle accidents. From 120,000 big rig crashes from 2001 to 2003, the FMCSA selected a representative sample of 963 crashes to include in their study. Below are the results of their research.

  1. Drug Use– In 26-percent of the crashes evaluated, illicit or prescription drug use by the truck driver was found to be a factor in the crash.
  2. Excessive Speed– Large trucks are difficult to control, and as their speed increases, they become even more so. In 23-percent of accidents evaluated, speeding was found to be a factor in the cause of the car accident.
  3. Unfamiliar Environment– Knowledge of the area and potential hazards of the roads plays a large role in overall truck safety. In 22-percent of crashes evaluated, the driver’s unfamiliarity with the roads and area played a role in the automobile accident.
  4. OTC Medication– It is not only illicit drugs that contribute to car crashes involving big rigs. In 18-percent of crashes evaluated, the driver had been taking over the counter medication that impaired his ability to safely operate his rig.
  5. Failure to Monitor Blind Spots– Truck drivers are trained to monitor their blind spots, but the truth is, sometimes they forget. According to the study, 14-percent of traffic accidents involving big rigs were due to the driver failing to properly monitor his blind spots.
  6. Driver Fatigue– Many people envision truck drivers as perpetually tired. They do drive for log hours, but according to the study, driver fatigue was a contributing factor in only 13-percent of accidents.
  7. Failure to Signal– Big trucks take a lot of room and are difficult to maneuver. Failing to signal was a contributing factor in 9-percent of accidents evaluated in this study.
  8. Distracted Driving– The operators of passenger vehicles are not the only ones who occasionally drive while distracted. In 8-percent of accidents involving large trucks, the driver was distracted from the road.
  9. Failure to Take Timely Evasive Action– Big rigs are difficult to maneuver. In 7-percent of accidents evaluated in the study, drivers were found to be at fault for not taking evasive action in time.
  10. Aggressive Driving– Truck drivers are not immune to road rage. 7-percent of accidents in the study were found to be caused by the truck driver driving too aggressively.

Truck drivers are more vigilant than most, but accidents do happens and sometimes they are negligent or distracted. If you have been the victim of a car accident due to a truck driver’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. At our firm, we focus on personal injury claims due to automobile accidents. If you would like to discuss your case, please contact us through the form found on this site. We would love to help you in any way we can.