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Common driving mistakes are responsible for most truck crashes

Commercial trucks are large so that they can carry as much as possible to their destination. The huge capacity of a commercial truck's trailer makes it an invaluable part of the modern American economy. Unfortunately, the size and weight of commercial trucks also make them one of the most dangerous things on modern American roads.

Given that truck drivers go through special schooling and must follow relatively strict rules about how and when they drive when compared with people in passenger vehicles, you might assume that drivers are usually not responsible for the crashes that occur involving large commercial trucks.

However, an analysis by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration makes it clear that mistakes on the part of the driver are the cause of the overwhelming majority of commercial truck crashes where the truck, not the passenger vehicle, causes the crash.

Driver mistakes are part of what make commercial trucks so dangerous

Understanding the causes of crashes can help the government institute policies that keep the roads safer for everyone. Over a multi-year analysis of commercial driving crashes, researchers found that when a crash is clearly caused by the commercial truck driver and not the passenger vehicle, issues with the driver's performance were the primary cause of the crash 87% of the time.

Issues with the vehicle that lead to mechanical malfunction are responsible for roughly another 10% of crashes, while only 3% of trucking crashes tend to result from mechanical issues with the vehicle itself.

Among the issues that drivers experience that contribute to their collision risk, some of the most common factors include:

  • failing to pay attention or driving while distracted
  • exceeding the posted speed limit
  • driving irresponsibly for traffic or weather conditions
  • driving while exhausted or fatigued
  • driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol

There are countless potential ways in which truck drivers can cause crashes, but it should surprise few people to learn that the majority of risk factors for commercial drivers overlap with those among passenger vehicles. Truck drivers are only human and can easily make the same mistakes as anyone else behind the wheel.

Causation affects liability and compensation options

When a truck driver causes a crash, the people in the other vehicle will have to carefully consider the situation to determine what rights they have. When a driver clearly violated company policy or federal law regarding how long they drive or how they operate their vehicle, the driver may be liable for the injuries they cause.

In situations where improper maintenance of the vehicle for aggressive company policies play a role in the crash, the victims of the crash may be able to take action against the company that hired the truck driver. Given how severe the injuries typically are in commercial truck accidents, exploring compensation opportunities is often necessary to help families recover from lost wages and medical expenses.

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