Study Looks at the Most Common Reasons Trucking Accidents Occur

Posted by Ryan Russman | Jul 08, 2014 | 0 Comments

An auto accident involving a large truck is often very serious. Because of the size and power of a truck, the majority of the damage and injury often is suffered by the smaller vehicles involved in a collision. In New Hampshire, a person who is serious injured in an accident caused by a negligent trucker is entitled to seek compensation for their injuries. Families of a victim who is killed in such an accident may also be eligible for wrongful death compensation. If you or a loved one has experienced injury due to a trucking accident in New Hampshire, contact an injury attorney right away.

In order for a person to make a personal injury claim, they must have suffered serious injury due to another party's negligence. In the case of a trucking accident, the driver of the truck or the company that is responsible for the truck must have demonstrated negligence in some way. Negligence can manifest into injury in a number of ways. In 2006, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) joined forces to research the causes of truck accidents. They called the study The Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS)and used accident data to determine some of the major causes of truck accidents.

The report examined 967 crashes that took place in the United States that involved at least one large truck causing an accident resulting in at least one injury. The study found that in 23.1% of accidents a fatality was involved and an incapacitating injury resulted in another 28.7% of accidents. Statistics also revealed that the majority of truck accidents – 62.2% – involved a tractor pulling a single semi-trailer, or as the NHTSA describes them “the ubiquitous18-wheelers that haul most of the Nation's freight”.

Types of Truck Accidents

The study first looked at what the most common types of truck accidents were. Researchers examined past crash data and found 12 types of crashes that most often resulted from truck accidents. The following lists these crashes as well as what percentage of truck accidents they represent:

Type of Accident Percentage
Rear End 23.1%
Ran off Road/Out of Lane 17.8%
Side Swipe, Same Direction 10.3%
Rollover 8.9%
Turning across Path/into Path 8.0%
Intersecting Vehicles, Straight Paths 5.8%
Side Swipe, Opposite Direction 4.6%
Head-on 3.0%
Hit Object in Road 1.8%
No Impact (fire, jackknife, other,) 0.9%
Backing into Other Vehicle 0.3%
Other Crash Type 15.5%

Causes of Truck Accidents

Next, researchers looked to find out why these accidents occurred. They looked at the data of accidents that were ruled to be the fault of a truck. They then compiled a list of reasons reported for these accidents. They estimate the following are the main causes of truck accidents in the United States:

Events Percentage
Truck Crosses Over the Lane or Off the Road 32.1%
Driver Loses Control of the Vehicle (Including due to driving too fast) 28.6%
Other Motor Vehicle in Travel Lane 21.7%
Turning, Crossing an Intersection 10.3%
Pedestrian/Bicyclist/Other Non-motorist in Roadway 2.5%
Other Motor Vehicle Encroaching into Travel Lane 1.7%
Other 1.4%

Reasons for Large Truck Injuries

Researchers in the study were not satisfied simply finding the most common causes and types of truck accidents. They were also interested to find out why the accidents occurred. Again, they looked at truck accident data and found that the two biggest reasons they found for the occurrence of truck accidents were driver error and vehicle problems.

The most common reason for truck related accidents was linked to driver error. The study found that in 87.2% of accidents caused by a large truck, the driver was blame. They found there were four categories of driver error:

  • Nonperformance – This includes the driver being physically impaired for some reason such as falling asleep or being disabled due to a heart attack or other health issue. Researchers estimate that 11.6% of truck accidents are caused by driver nonperformance.
  • Recognition – Driver recognition errors make up 28.4% of truck accidents include actions that occur due to a driver not recognizing the situation or not paying attention. It also includes drivers being distracted.
  • Decision – These types of accidents include collisions that occur due to drivers making poor decisions such as speeding, following too closely or changing lanes at the wrong time. They were found to make up 38.0% of large truck collisions.
  • Performance – These crashes result from a driver making an error in judgment or performance while operating a large truck. They result in 9.2% of trucking accident and include reasons such as overcompensating on a turn or simply not reacting fast enough.

In about 10% of all accidents caused by a large truck, researchers believe that the reason for the accident was due to the vehicle. If any vehicle is not properly maintained, it may not function properly leading to a collision. The study found that there were 3 main areas where truck malfunctions manifest into accidents. These include:

  • Breaking capacity – Brakes fail to stop the truck the way they should
  • Tire or wheel failure – Tires blow out, are worn and cause truck to hydroplane, wheels fall off, etc.
  • Cargo shift – The load the truck is carrying shifts or comes loose while the vehicle is in motion

Information regarding why an accident happened is very important for an injury case. Accidents caused by a truck driver or trucking company's error or negligence can be subject to a compensation claim when a victim is hurt or killed.

Getting Help for Your Injury

If you have been injured in an accident caused by a large truck in New Hampshire, call an injury lawyer to find out more about your rights. Anyone who is hurt due to negligence on the part of another party is entitled to seek compensation for their injuries. An injury claim depends on the reason for the accident, regardless of the other circumstances. Even if the driver is not responsible, a poorly maintained truck could be to blame for the accident due to negligence by the trucking company.

About the Author

Ryan Russman

Attorney Ryan Russman has dedicated his career to fighting for the rights of New Hampshire citizens. His practice, based in Exeter (Rockingham County) New Hampshire, is limited to cases involving DWI and DUI, other motor vehicle and criminal cases, and many cases involving personal injury. He is, however, best known as one of New Hampshire's leading legal authorities on DWI.


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