While any vehicle accident can present difficulties in determining the cause of a crash and where liability lies, truck accidents are particularly complicated. These crashes often have contributing factors that only increase the complexities of a case. In addition, truck accidents are often catastrophic in nature due to the massive size and weight of these vehicles. Victims are often left with devastating injuries and tragically, many do not survive.
There have been multiple studies conducted on truck accidents, but one of the most comprehensive was the Large Truck Crash Causation Study that was done by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The goal of the study was to determine the causes of serious and fatal crashes of trucks with a gross weight of 10,000 pounds and over.
The study implemented three key variables in determining what caused truck accidents. These variables were:
- Critical events
- Critical reasons
- Associated factors
The critical event was the event or action that made the crash unavoidable. Researchers assigned three major types of critical events in trucking accidents:
- Truck rear-ending another vehicle that was in the truck’s travel lane: The study assigned this event to 22 percent of the crashes used in the study.
- The truck driver lost control of the vehicle (variety of reasons cited): The study assigned this event to 29 percent of the crashes used in the study.
- The truck driver drove the vehicle out of their travel lane: The study assigned this event to 32 percent of the crashes used in the study.
The critical reason is the immediate reason for the critical event. Some of the reasons cited in the study included vehicle failure, driver error, and environmental conditions. The study put critical reasons in four categories:
- Decision: A decision on the truck driver was a factor in 38 percent of the crashes used in the study. Some examples include the truck driver misjudged the speed of other vehicles, the truck driver was driving too fast for the road or weather conditions, or the truck driver did not leave enough space between his or her vehicle and the vehicle in front of them.
- Recognition: Failure to recognize the situation was a factor in 28 percent of the crashes used in the study. Some examples include the truck driver was engaged in distracted driving behavior, the truck driver was not paying attention to the road, and the truck driver failed to observe the situation on the road.
- Non-performance: The truck driver not performing their duties was a factor in 12 percent of the crashes used in the study. Examples include the truck driver being under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, and the truck driver falling asleep while driving.
- Performance: An action on the part of the truck driver was responsible for 9 percent of the crashes used in the study. Examples include the truck driver overcompensating while turning, the truck driver panicked behind the wheel, and the truck driver losing control of their vehicle.
The associated factors identified in the study have to do with the truck driver, the truck, and the environmental conditions when and where the accident occurred. These factors may or may not have played a part in the crash. Some of the more frequently cited in the study include:
- Heavy traffic
- Issues with brakes
- Issues with the road
- Truck driver fatigue
Contact a Virginia Trucking Accident Attorney Today
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident caused by a negligent or reckless truck driver, contact a seasoned Virginia truck accident attorney from our firm. Truck accidents can be more complex than other types of motor vehicle accidents because depending on the circumstances of the crash, there may be multiple parties who are liable for a victim’s injuries.
The legal team at Shapiro, Appleton & Washburn have been fighting for injured victims for more than three decades. Our firm has successfully represented many clients who were injured in truck accidents and will use all available resources to aggressively advocate for you and your family in obtaining the financial compensation you deserve.