What if I told you semi-truck drivers cause fewer truck-passenger vehicle accidents than passenger vehicle drivers? Odds are, the average person wouldn’t believe me because of our society’s obsession with blaming and vilifying semi-truck drivers. For instance, if you do a quick Google search for “causes of semi accidents” you’ll notice the first thing that pops up is a list made up exclusively of ways semi-truck drivers cause accidents. This list would lead you to believe that only semi-truck drivers cause these accidents and passenger vehicle drivers are simply victims, but that’s not even close to the truth.

Truck-Passenger Vehicle Causation Statistics

According to a study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration passenger vehicles cause 56% of all truck-passenger vehicle crashes with the majority of those accidents being due to driver recognition and decision issues, while only 44% of the accidents were deemed to have been caused by truck driver or vehicle related issues. That means it’s the passenger vehicles and their drivers causing the majority of these accidents, not truck drivers.  

Another study conducted by the American Trucking Associations found that 81% of these accidents were caused by the passenger vehicle, bolstering the claim that the drivers of passenger vehicles are more often than not the at-fault party, not the truck drivers. Further substantiating that percentage is the fact that in fatal accidents, 73% of the time the passenger vehicle driver was cited for causing the accident, while only 34% of truck drivers were.

Additional Considerations

The raw numbers already show truck drivers cause these horrific accidents far less often than the drivers of passenger vehicles, but there are other things that must be taken into consideration. For instance, of the 44% of accidents where fault was attributed to the truck driver or vehicle issues, 25% of those accidents attributed brake problems as the cause and another 25% attributed traffic flow interruptions (prior accidents) as the cause of the accident. So half of the accidents that attributed fault to the truck driver or vehicle were issues out of the driver’s hands, meaning the driver himself only actually caused 22% of all truck-passenger vehicle accidents according to this study.

Further, fatigue was the cause of 13% of accidents where fault was attributed to the truck driver. This is significant because often times truck drivers are forced to make unreasonable deadlines by large companies, forcing them to drive fatigued in order to put food on the table for their families.

What Can Be Done?

For starters, stop vilifying truck drivers. If anything, we should be thanking drivers considering they’re collectively responsible for transporting roughly 70% of U.S. freight. Without them, your local Wal-Mart wouldn’t have food on its shelves.

The next thing we can do is be more conscious of the fact that these large vehicles can’t maneuver like a passenger vehicle. It takes them longer to stop, they can’t move in and out of lanes as quickly, and if they swerve they might not be able to recover. A few tips for making the roadways safe:

      1. Stay Out Of The Blind Spots of Semis as much as possible, make sure you’re visible so they can avoid you.
      2. Don’t Make Sudden Lane Change directly in front of a semi as you’ll either cause them to swerve and lose control or end up with a vehicle 10 times your size rear-ending you, neither of which ends well.
      3. Give Semis Room To Turn. They have to make wider turns than passenger vehicles. Make sure you give them the necessary room to do so.

In Closing

Every Indianapolis Semi-Truck Accident Lawyer at the Law Office of William W. Hurst, LLC has seen the horrific injuries caused by large truck-passenger vehicle accidents and while its our job to make sure the injured party, whether that be the truck driver or the passenger vehicle driver, is compensated for their injuries, we’d prefer the accident never have happened. So please, be courteous to semi-truck drivers and help reduce the number of these tragic accidents.

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