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The Most Common Causes of Truck Accidents

Photo of tractor trailers lined up.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports the following findings regarding truck accidents in 2020:

  • 4,965 fatalities resulted from truck accidents.
  • 146,930 injuries resulted from truck accidents.
  • 71% of all fatalities in truck accidents were occupants of the other vehicle.
  • 76% of all truck accidents occur during the day on weekdays.

Factors That Lead to Truck Accidents

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) identified three “critical reasons,” or factors, that were directly responsible for 78,000 accidents: the driver, the vehicle, and the environment. The prevalence of these factors is as follows:

  • Truck drivers were responsible for 87% of all truck accidents, or 68,000 trucks.
  • The truck was responsible for 10% of all truck accidents, or 8,000 trucks.
  • The environment was responsible for 3% of all truck accidents, or 2,000 trucks.

Hazardous Truck Driver Behaviors

The FMCSA reported that dangerous truck driver behaviors tend to fall within one of the following four categories: decision-making, recognition, non-performance, and performance.

1. Decision-Making

The driver’s decision-making was the basis for 38% of driver-related accidents, with the top problems being:

  • Over-the-counter drug use.
  • Substance use.
  • Traveling too fast for conditions.
  • Following too close.
  • Feeling under work pressure from the carrier.

2. Recognition

The driver’s inability to recognize potential hazards was the basis for 28% of driver-related accidents, with the top problems being:

  • Inattention.
  • Distractions, internal and external.
  • Inadequate surveillance.
  • Being unfamiliar with roadways.

3. Non-Performance

The driver was unconscious or unable to perform their duties for 12% of driver-related accidents, with the top problems being:

  • Fatigue.
  • A sudden medical event.

4. Performance

The driver’s performance was the basis for 9% of driver-related accidents, with the top problems being:

  • Making an illegal maneuver.
  • Panicking or overcompensating in response to a traffic event or hazard.

Hazardous Vehicle Problems

Common hazardous vehicle problems are as follows:

  • Brake Problems.
  • Tire problems.
  • Cargo shift.
  • Overpacked trucks.
  • Underpacked trucks.

Hazardous Environments

Common hazardous environments are as follows:

  • Inclement weather conditions.
  • Roadway problems.

Related Reading

Interested in learning more about truck accidents? Check out these resources:

Truck Accidents: DUIs

Truck Accidents: Driver Fatigue

Truck Accidents: Mechanical Failure

Truck Accidents: Construction Zones

Negligence in the Truck Industry: Hiring

Negligence in the Truck Industry: Truck Drivers

Negligence in the Truck Industry: Overweight Trucks

Winston-Salem Truck Accident Lawyers

If you or a loved one have been injured in a truck accident, the team at Comerford Chilson & Moser can help you. Together, our attorneys have more than 90 years of collective legal experience and a long track record of success. Our firm has earned a reputation for providing clients with aggressive advocacy in and out of the courtroom.

Contact us at (336) 568-8779 or submit our confidential form to schedule a free consultation. We will answer any questions you may have regarding your case. If your claim is accepted, we will begin reviewing your case's facts immediately.