Most people in the trucking industry will tell you that the majority of truck accidents in America are caused by the smaller vehicle, not the truck. As truck accidents continue to rise, it’s important that we evaluate these claims and see if we can determine the real cause of these crashes and what we can do to prevent them in the future.
A Tale of Two Crashes
The truck drivers are correct, mostly. Both federal organizations and the trucking lobby alike have come up with similar numbers, which suggest that in truck crashes involving more than one vehicle, the smaller vehicle is responsible about 4-in-5 times. However, there is a very large asterisk to be aware of when reading into those numbers.
The smaller driver causes the majority of multi-vehicle crashes, but that only accounts for 60% of all truck accidents. The other 40% of crashes (including those caused by driver error, negligent maintenance, road conditions, etc.) are single-vehicle crashes. Not only that, these kinds of crashes have been steadily increasing over the past five years.
There are many claims that these single-vehicle accidents are often the result of the truck reacting to the actions of another vehicle. The smaller vehicle drives off unharmed while the truck crashes in the rear-view mirror. There’s not a great amount of evidence to support these claims, but it does raise an important note about truck safety.
Most American drivers do not understand the basics of trucking safety. They don’t understand how the no-zone works and may unknowingly linger in a truck driver’s blind spots. While ignorance is no excuse for unsafe behavior, it is important that all drivers take time to understand how to safely navigate around semi-trucks on the highway.
When drivers are aware of a truck’s blind spots, they are more likely to give them space and practice proper passing techniques that will help everyone on the road prevent accidents and save lives.
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