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The most common reasons semi-truck drivers cause collisions

On Behalf of | Jun 3, 2024 | Personal Injury |

Some commercial vehicle collisions occur because drivers in smaller passenger vehicles do unsafe things. They drive in the blind spot of a semi-truck or cut one off on the freeway with tragic results.

However, a significant portion of collisions involving semi-trucks and other commercial vehicles occur because of something that the commercial driver did or failed to do. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) establishes rules for commercial traffic and also analyzes collision data to better understand these collisions.

What does the FMCSA assert are the main ways that commercial drivers cause crashes with smaller vehicles?

Making the wrong choice

It is quite common for drivers to make mistakes in traffic. People have seconds to respond to changing conditions in some cases. Although semi-truck drivers have more training and generally more time on the road than the average motorist, they can still make significant mistakes in traffic. Approximately 38% of the crashes that occur because of semi-trucks involve mistakes by commercial drivers. They follow another vehicle too closely or maintain an unsafe speed given road conditions, leading to a preventable wreck.

Failing to monitor their surroundings

Recognition errors are the second most common reason that commercial drivers cause wrecks. Recognition errors could occur due to distraction. A commercial driver looking at a dispatch device or texting their spouse might not notice that the vehicle in front of them slammed on their brakes because of an animal in the street. Recognition errors can also involve crashes caused by vehicles in a trucker’s blind spots. Issues with monitoring the road account for another 28% of crashes caused by commercial vehicles.

Becoming incapable of driving

Non-performance or a sudden inability to continue driving while already on the road is the third most common reason that semi-trucks cause collisions. Oftentimes, non-performance involves a driver falling asleep due to fatigue or highway hypnosis. Some cases of non-performance are technically not the driver’s fault. They may have medical emergencies ranging from strokes and seizures to allergic reactions that render them incapable of driving safely.

When a semi-truck is at fault for a crash, the people affected by the incident may have several options for pursuing compensation. A commercial insurance policy may be available, and such crashes sometimes provide the necessary grounds for personal injury lawsuits. Understanding that the vast majority of semi-truck crashes are preventable with better practices may help people feel comfortable about taking legal action. People who did not cause a crash should not have to absorb the financial losses caused by it.