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What are the leading causes of semi-truck collisions?

On Behalf of | Jul 8, 2024 | Personal Injury

Many drivers feel anxious whenever they have to drive close to a semi-truck or similar commercial vehicle. Despite their prevalence, big commercial trucks still cut an imposing figure on the road. There is good reason to be aware of the risk posed by semi-trucks. They cause many of the most catastrophic crashes reported every year. For example, a semi-truck can cause a multi-vehicle pileup if it jackknives on the highway. Semi-trucks can also cause tragic underride crashes that demolish smaller vehicles.

Drivers obviously benefit from proactively trying to avoid semi-truck collisions. Those who understand what causes those crashes may be able to make safer decisions in traffic. What are the top causes of semi-truck collisions?

Decisions by other drivers

According to data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), almost half of all commercial vehicle collisions are the fault of the people in the smaller vehicle. Drivers make mistakes that put them at risk of a life-altering wreck. Driving in the blind spots around a semi-truck could increase crash risk. So could the failure to maintain adequate space between the commercial truck and the passenger vehicle when merging, passing or turning on busy streets. Even getting too close at an intersection could lead to a preventable crash because of the wide turns that semi-trucks make.

Decisions by commercial drivers

When looking at the causes of crashes where the semi-truck is to blame, improper decisions by the commercial driver are the top risk factor. The FMCSA reports that 87% of semi-truck crashes have to do with something the commercial driver did or didn’t do. Making the wrong choice in traffic, such as following another vehicle too closely, is a top risk factor. Failing to monitor road conditions is another top cause of commercial vehicle crashes attributed to commercial drivers. Non-performance caused by medical emergencies or falling asleep is another common issue.

Issues with a vehicle

The final causative factor responsible for a sizable portion of commercial crashes relates to vehicle repairs and maintenance. Approximately 10% of commercial vehicle collisions occur due to inadequate maintenance or repairs of the vehicle. Such crashes are potentially the fault of the transportation company or the contractor that maintains its fleet rather than either of the drivers.

After a semi-truck crash, there may be a complicated compensation process ahead for the people in the smaller vehicle. Being aware of crash causes can help people to more accurately determine liability and demand justice after a preventable semi-truck collision.