The flow of traffic often gets compared to a dance because drivers must operate independently while remaining very aware of their surroundings and the upcoming actions of others nearby. When one participant is larger, clumsier and slower than others, they may generate risk that impacts everyone.
On the road, commercial trucks are a major source of risk, as their size makes maneuvering prohibitively difficult while also increasing the likelihood of them causing severe injuries to people in a smaller vehicle.
According to research by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) looking at the causes of large commercial crashes, in roughly 55% of those collisions, it was the truck driver who was responsible for the crash.
Driver mistakes are more common than vehicle issues that cause crashes
Knowing that more than half of collisions involving commercial trucks are the result of issues with the commercial vehicle or its driver might make you think that mechanical failures play a role in many accidents. However, only about 10% of the crashes reviewed by the FMCSA related to vehicle issues. A minuscule 3% were due to environmental factors, such as inclement weather or spills on the road.
The remaining 87% of crashes caused by commercial drivers are due to how they drive. As far as driver mistakes that cause crashes, the most significant one is making the wrong decision. Driving too fast for road conditions or getting too close to other vehicles are examples of bad decisions that play a role in roughly 38% of all commercial truck crashes.
Distraction or failing to recognize issues as they arise outside the vehicle oh, also called the recognition, played a role in another 28% of commercial truck crashes. Non-performance, typically due to medical issues or falling asleep at the wheel causes roughly 12% of crashes, while poor performance of driving tasks, cause another 9% of crashes.
Knowing these risks can help you remember to give commercial vehicles a wide berth, but you could still wind up hurt because of another driver’s mistakes. In that situation, you may have the right to seek compensation for any injuries or property damage you suffer.