Knowing what causes truck crashes can keep you safer on the road

Massive commercial trucks are such a routine part of modern life that people barely notice them on the road anymore. However, while they may be commonplace, they are also incredibly dangerous for people in passenger vehicles.

Every day, people across the country wind up in horrific commercial truck crashes that produce fatalities or catastrophic, life-altering injuries. According to an analysis of collisions involving commercial trucks by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), roughly 44% of all those crashes resulted from a critical failure on the part of the truck or its driver.

The leading cause of traffic collisions is bad decision-making by truckers

According to an analysis of FMCSA data, only 13% of crashes involving commercial trucks result from environmental factors or defects in the vehicle. The other 87% of those crashes result from driver mistakes, with bad decisions leading to driver-attributed causes for crashes. Driving too fast for road conditions or getting too close to other vehicles are common bad decisions that can result in otherwise preventable crashes.

Distraction on the part of a trucker is a common cause for crashes

The FMCSA rates recognition as the second most common driver-critical issue that causes crashes. Recognition means focus and attention on one’s surroundings and the ability to react appropriately to them. In other words, recognition errors occur when a driver isn’t paying attention or engages in distraction, such as eating a meal at the wheel or texting someone back home.

Non-performance and performance are both minor contributors to driver-caused crashes. Non-performance occurs when a driver falls asleep or experiences a medical event that prevents them from fulfilling their duties. Performance mistakes could include panicking or doing something contrary to their training while driving.