Back in 2007, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration released the results of its Large Truck Crash Causation Study, a definitive analysis of what causes large truck crashes in Texas and across the U.S. The study focused on 963 truck crash cases from a pool of some 120,000 fatal incidents involving 141,000 trucks.
The LTCCS states that 44% of two-vehicle crashes between one truck and one passenger vehicle arose because of error on the trucker’s part. Three errors in particular were frequently cited as the “critical reason” for a crash: speeding, driving with bad brakes and driving negligently because of unfamiliarity with an area’s roadways.
Brake problems were the most common error, being cited as the critical reason in 29% of crashes where the trucker was at fault. Truckers driving with bad brakes were 170% more likely to be crash initiators than those with properly adjusted brakes. Speeding was to blame for 23% of these crashes and unfamiliarity for 22%.
Speeding includes not just exceeding the speed limit but also driving too fast for conditions created by bad weather, slick roads or heavy traffic. Unfamiliarity with roadways stems from a lack of planning ahead; truckers may fail to anticipate turns or miscalculate distances, opening the door to negligent behavior.
There are a host of other ways that truckers can be negligent. For example, by committing hours-of-service violations, they could grow drowsy behind the wheel. Whatever the cause, victims of a trucker’s negligence can be compensated for their losses, including their medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. They may wish to consult with a lawyer, though, because trucking companies can aggressively fight against claims. A lawyer may speak on victims’ behalf for a fair settlement and litigate if one cannot be agreed on.