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What are the top 3 reasons big rigs cause major crashes?

On Behalf of | Feb 27, 2023 | Trucking Accidents |

It only takes half a second to make the kind of mistake that causes a motor vehicle collision. Drivers need to pay attention at all times and constantly prioritize safety and situational awareness if they don’t want to be at fault for a crash.

According to collision statistics from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, people in passenger vehicles are the primary cause of slightly less than half of the collisions between four-wheeled vehicles and commercial vehicles. The remaining collisions are primarily the fault of the driver in the commercial truck.

Obviously, despite having more training and a different license than the average driver, commercial transportation specialists can still make mistakes that cause a crash. These are a few of the top reasons that a commercial truck operator may be responsible for a collision with another motor vehicle operator.

1. The driver makes the wrong decision

Decision-making errors account for approximately 38% of the crashes caused by commercial truck operators. Driving too fast for road conditions or traffic density is a decision-making error. So is not leaving sufficient space while turning or passing another vehicle. Despite all of the practice that they have, commercial drivers still sometimes make the wrong choice and cause a crash because of poor judgment.

2. The driver becomes distracted

Maybe they get a phone call from home and find out that their child just got expelled from school or they just want to eat a quick lunch at the wheel. Failing to notice changing traffic conditions because of distraction causes roughly 28% of crashes when operators of 18-wheelers and other commercial vehicles are at fault.

3. The driver is unable to perform their job

Medical issues like a heart attack or exhaustion from working incredibly long shifts can leave a driver unable to do their job temporarily. Nonperformance often involves some kind of emergency or a driver falling asleep, and it is responsible for another 12% of crashes caused by operators of large commercial vehicles.

Drivers never know when they might experience some kind of medical event, and even those who use a lot of caffeine could potentially still fall asleep at the wheel with potentially disastrous results.  People in passenger vehicles can protect themselves by trying to keep a close eye on commercial trucks near them in traffic and by following all traffic safety laws. In general, giving trucks plenty of space as a means of avoiding a commercial vehicle crash improves everyone’s overall safety on the road.