Causes of trucking accidents examined

While any motor vehicle accident can be serious, those involving large commercial vehicles and trucks are more likely to result in a fatality. In fact, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, during 2009, ten percent of all traffic-related fatalities involved a large truck. The increased likelihood that a fatality will result when a commercial truck is involved in an accident has prompted two civil engineers to explore ways to reduce the number of truck accidents in states like Alabama and across the country.

In an effort to determine the main causes of fatal trucking accidents, the engineers are examining data related to truck crashes that occurred in one state over the past five years. Of those crashes examined, they determined that more than 70 percent were caused by driver error. Errors included speeding, improper lane changes and tailgating.

Additionally, the engineers found that roughly 80 percent of truck crashes happened between the daylight hours of noon and 3 p.m. and could not be attributed to any adverse weather. The instances of truck crashes also increased as speed limits increased, proving that it's more difficult for truck drivers to correct errors when traveling at higher speeds.

Other examined causes of truck accidents involved environmental factors such as animals on the road or rain or ice, as well as vehicle-related problems like faulty brakes or improperly secured cargo.

Once results of the statistical analysis are complete, the engineers hope their findings will be used to help shape new safety policies and regulatory guidelines for truckers.

Source: Claims Journal, "Research Examines Truck-Related Crashes to Reduce Accidents," Kansas State University, Jun. 18, 2012

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