What Causes Large Truck Accidents? - Fisher Stark Personal Injury Can Help Accident Victims

What Causes Big Truck Accidents & Why Are They So Dangerous?

Large trucks, defined as medium or heavy vehicles weighing over 10,000 lbs., make up approximately 10% of the total vehicle miles traveled in the United States. While these vehicles constitute a cornerstone of modern supply chains, they can also pose a serious danger, especially to those in passenger vehicles. Understanding more about what makes truck accidents different and what causes these incidents can help make sharing the road with them safer and easier.

This article provides an overview of the various factors that contribute to large truck crashes, injuries, and deaths, drawing insights from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) 2007 ‘Large Truck Crash Causation Study’. In the study, crash researchers and state inspectors were sent to 963 crash scenes in a nationwide sample to record the factors that led to truck crashes. Although the figures in this study only truly measure the crashes that were a part of the study, the data is still useful in estimating the cause of truck crashes nationwide.

Asheville Truck Accident Lawyers

If you or a loved one has experienced the life-altering consequences of a truck accident, we are here to help. The trucking accident attorneys at Fisher Stark P.A. understand the complexities and stress associated with navigating the claims process after an injury. Schedule a consultation with our experienced attorneys and let us fight to help you receive the justice and compensation you deserve. Call 828-505-4300 today or click here to visit our contact page.

What Causes Large Truck Accidents? - Fisher Stark Personal Injury Can Help Accident Victims

Top Four Factors That Lead to Big Rig & Large Truck Accidents

The causes for large truck accidents can essentially be broken down into four categories, driver condition, driver error, mechanical and environmental. Each cause comes with two statistics, how frequently the cause is present in crashes, and how likely a crash is to occur compared to when that cause is absent. This second variable is called ‘relative risk ratio’ and can be much higher than the percentage likelihood of the cause occurring in the first place.

Driver Conditions

The drivers of large trucks operate under layers of regulations that dictate how long they must rest, how many miles they can travel, and which routes they are permitted to take.

The goal of these regulations is to ensure truck drivers make it to their destination safely and without taking undue risks.

In practice, however, drivers face pressure from the companies they work for to meet certain deadlines or quotas, which their income is often tied to.

The pressure and stress of working such a job often causes drivers to work longer than strictly allowed and to do so while fatigued, sick, or on roadways they are unfamiliar with. Notably, although only present in 3% of truck crashes, driver illness is associated with a 34 times increased chance of a crash occurring compared to if the driver was in good health.

Driver Error

This category encompasses any dangerous or incorrect choices made by the truck driver and is similar to the crash statistics for standard automobiles.

As with other vehicles, speeding is the most commonly occurring factor, contributing to nearly a quarter of truck crashes.

Keeping an insufficient following distance and making illegal maneuvers, however, came with the highest associated risk in the category at 22.6 and 26.4 respectively.


Mechanical or Maintenance Issues

The mechanical condition of a large truck is a critical factor in accident prevention.  Because of this, drivers are required to perform pre-trip inspections.

Mechanical failures can encompass various issues, ranging from brake malfunctions to tire blowouts. Breaking issues are the most prevalent, contributing to an estimated 29% of truck crashes.

Although this might seem alarming, the relative risk ratio of 2.7 suggests that they aren’t nearly as big an issue when they do occur compared to the less common but higher risk ratio factors. Shifting cargo for example, while accounting for only 4% of incidents, carries a staggering relative risk ratio of 56.3, highlighting the extreme importance of proper inspection and securement.

Driving Environment

The environment trucks traverse plays a substantial role in accident occurrence. Roadway and weather problems are a contributing factor in an estimated 1 in 5 truck crashes.

Interestingly, while this data indicates weather and poor roads often contribute to crashes, the associated relative risk is quite low compared to preventable factors such as speeding, fatigue or following distance.

From driver conditions to mechanical issues and environmental challenges, recognizing the factors that contribute to trucking accidents can help minimize the risks associated with these enormous vehicles.

What Causes Large Truck Accidents? - Fisher Stark Personal Injury Can Help truck Accident Victims

Asheville Personal Injury Lawyers, Brad Stark & Perry Fisher

Asheville’s Truck Accident Lawyers – Fisher Stark P.A.

If you or a loved one has experienced the life-altering consequences of a truck accident, the compassionate team at Fisher Stark P.A. is here to help guide you through the complex accident claims process. Schedule a consultation with our experienced personal injury attorneys today by calling 828-505-4300 today or by clicking here to visit our contact page.