In 2012, the ATA released a report that summarized car-truck crash statistics, and the findings were clear– in crashes, car drivers are more often at fault than truck drivers.
The ATA analyzed crash data from the University of Michigan, the National Highway Safety Administration, AAA and the FMCSA. The results of their analysis showed that the majority of crashes involving a car and truck are caused by the car driver. In fact, according to the report, “car drivers were assigned factors in 81% of crashes versus 27% of truck drivers.”
“Trucks and truck drivers are out on America’s roads with one goal: the safe and efficient delivery of the goods they are hauling,” ATA President and CEO, Bill Graves said.. “They understand they bear a great responsibility to keep our roads safe for all motorists, and they should not continue to be penalized by their government for the unsafe actions of other motorists when it’s plainly evident that the professional driver did not cause or could not have avoided a crash.”
“It is imperative that FMCSA institute a fair process to address the question of crash accountability in its Compliance, Safety, Accountability monitoring system,” Graves said.
Special interest groups, the media and select attorneys have played on the public’s fear of big trucks, but it’s hard to ignore the facts released in the ATA’s report, truck drivers are the safest, most responsible drivers on the road.
“Every crash, and every fatality and injury, suffered on our nation’s highways is a tragedy,” Graves said. “Preventing them from happening requires a proper understanding of the causes of these crashes. It is also tragic that carriers and drivers across this country are saddled with guilt and blame for many crashes they could do nothing to prevent.”
Here is a summary of the ATA’s report:
University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI): UMTRI is a leader in truck-related crash research. The highlighted study assigns driver factors to 8,309 fatal car-truck crashes as a proxy for fault.
• Car drivers were assigned factors in 81% of crashes versus 27% of truck drivers •
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA): Tasked with “reducing deaths, injuries and economic losses resulting from motor vehicle crashes,” NHTSA has undertaken extensive research on the topic. Their 2003 study assigned causal driver factors in 10,092 fatalities.
• Cars were assigned driver factors in 91% of head-on crashes, 91% of opposite-direction sideswipes, 71% of rear-end crashes, and 77% of same-direction sideswipes
AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety: The foundation’s mission is “to identify traffic safety problems, foster research that seeks solutions and disseminate information and educational materials.” This study, one of over 250 projects they’ve funded to discover the causes of crashes, examined 10,732 fatal accidents.
• 36% of car drivers were cited for two or more unsafe acts • 11% of truck drivers were cited for two or more unsafe acts
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA): FMCSA is the primary regulating agency for the trucking industry whose stated mission is “to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.” Two studies are noted below.
Annual Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts: Cites driver factors in 6,131 car-truck fatal crashes
• 2007: 85% of cars were assigned driver factors versus 26% of trucks • 2008: 85% of cars were assigned driver factors versus 26% of trucks • 2009: 81% of cars were assigned driver factors versus 22% of trucks