Truck Accidents Can Happen at Any Time
According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 523,796 large truck accidents in 2021. Of these, most trucks were going straight on dry roads with few contributing factors other than truck driver error.
At Truck.Law, we are committed to helping you heal and get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with a trusted attorney in your area. In the meantime, here are the most common causes of truck accidents based on data from the NHTSA and the Federal Motor Carrier Commission.
Weekday traffic can be brutal depending on where you live, and this traffic is a contributing factor to truck accidents. According to the NHTSA 2023 report, 78% of truck accidents in 2021 occurred on a weekday between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Heavy rush hour traffic can contribute to truck accidents in many ways. Trucks might be hemmed in, have difficulty entering and exiting the highway, or have difficulty changing lanes. It is up to truck drivers to ensure that they are compensating for these difficulties and managing them appropriately.
It stands to reason that weather conditions could impact the frequency of truck accidents. However, you might be surprised to learn that most truck accidents happen during clear weather conditions.
According to the Federal Motor Carriers Commission (FMCC), 12.8% of truck accidents in 2020 happened on wet roads and 8.6% happened during rain storms. A negligible percentage happened during snow storms. Large trucks require more stopping distance, and it is up to truck drivers to ensure they are compensating for weather and road conditions.
Failure to stay in their own lane while negotiating curves is one of the leading causes of truck accidents. According to the NHTSA, 12.2% of truck accidents in 2021 occurred while trucks were negotiating a curve.
In addition, FMCC reports that 47.7% of truck accidents in 2020 happened on two-lane roads. Curves on two-lane roads and undivided highways can lead to side-swiping or pushing cars off the road.
Inattentiveness in Intersections
Intersections are a large source of truck accidents. According to FMCC, 17.8% of truck accidents in 2020 happened in a four-way intersection. In addition, 4.2% of truck accidents were caused by a failure to yield the right of way.
Intersections can be dangerous because large trucks must make wide turns. It is up to truck drivers to ensure the way is clear and that they are staying in their lane while turning.
Lack of Training
Driving a large truck safely requires training. That’s why the government requires truck drivers to have a CDL license to prove that they can drive these large vehicles safely. Unfortunately, not all large truck drivers are appropriately licensed. Licensure is usually gained via training through a trucking company.
According to FMCC, 22% of large truck accidents in 2020 involved truck drivers who did not have a CDL license. This means that these drivers had not completed appropriate training. Some of these accidents are individuals renting large trucks, but most are teams of truck drivers in which one member has not yet received their CDL or completed training.
Construction zones can be dangerous for any drivers, but large trucks have a harder time negotiating cones, and barriers, and avoiding equipment. Narrow lanes can also contribute to truck accidents in construction zones.
However, only 4.6% of truck accidents in 2020 were in construction zones. While this is a small percentage, it makes up a large portion of truck accidents with contributing factors. Keep in mind that most truck accidents have no contributing factors other than truck driver error.
Speeding is a big problem with truck drivers, and it is very dangerous. It takes large trucks longer to stop, and as such they should actually be driving slower than the rest of traffic. In fact, many municipalities have lower speed limits for large trucks on public roads.
In spite of this danger, many truck drivers speed to meet deadlines. According to FMCC, 7.3% of truck accidents in 2020 were caused by speeding.
Distracted driving is a big problem for all drivers, but particularly truck drivers. Truck drivers are in their vehicles for many hours a day, and they tend to multi-task. FMCC reports that 5.2% of truck accidents in 2020 were caused by distracted driving.
Truck accidents are caused by several types of distracted driving, in almost equal measures. These include:
- distraction/inattention (.3%)
- Talking or listening on a cell phone (.3%)
- Dialing or manipulating the cell phone (.2%)
- Other cell phone use (.2%)
- Reaching for something (.2%)
- Eating or drinking (.2%)
- Other distractions (.2%)
These percentages might not seem like much, but in total distracted driving caused 4,777 truck accidents in 2020. There is no excuse for a truck driver to be distracted while behind the wheel.
Reckless driving is often a pattern, and truck drivers with a history of reckless driving should be held accountable for their actions. It is important that you hire an attorney who can gain compensation and seek punitive damages when a truck driver has a history of causing accidents. In this way, truck drivers are discouraged from continuing the behavior.
According to the NHTSA, truck drivers are the most likely to have prior traffic crashes of any drivers. Nearly 20.8% of truck drivers in accidents in 2021 had a prior accident record. In addition, 19.3% of truck drivers in 2021 had previous speeding convictions, and 6.5% had prior license suspensions.
Driving Under the Influence
Driving under the influence is not as much of a problem with truck drivers as it is with other drivers, according to the statistics. However, the FMCC reports that 57.5% of truck drivers were not tested for drugs or substances. This means that drugs and alcohol could play a larger role in truck accidents than the statistics show.
As it is, the NHTSA reports that 3% of truck accidents in 2021 were caused by a drunk truck driver. The FMCC also reported that 6.3% of truck drivers in accidents in 2020 tested positive for drugs at the time of the accident.
Large Truck Accidents Can Be Devastating - We Can Help
Truck drivers who cause accidents should be held accountable for their negligence, and you deserve to be compensated for your injuries and losses. It is important to hire an attorney familiar with the causes of truck accidents who can determine the cause of your accident and hold the driver accountable for their role.
We are here to support you throughout your legal process. Contact us today for more information or to be connected with an attorney in your area.