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FMCSA to Study Causes of Large Truck Crashes


Large trucks, also called semi-trucks or 18-wheelers, are involved in over 500,000 accidents each year in the United States. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced that they are undertaking a new study to determine the cause of truck crashes. Previously, the FMCSA released a truck accident causation study in 2007. The latest research will provide updated insights into the reasons large truck accidents occur to find ways to prevent them from happening. Motor Carrier Safety


What Causes Truck Accidents?


Motor vehicle accidents can be complicated, especially when they involved a big rig. Many factors could cause or contribute to an accident. The FMCSA coded many variables to assess truck crashes. There were three main categories:

Critical events

● Critical reasons

● Associated factors


Three main types of critical events for large truck accidents include running out of travel lane, loss of control, and collision with the rear end of another vehicle. Loss of control may be due to driving too fast for conditions, a shift in cargo, a system failure, or poor road conditions, among others.


Three main categories of critical reasons include driver, vehicle, and environment. Driver reasons are further categorized into non-performance, recognition, decision, and performance. In the last report, the vast majority (87%) of accidents were caused by the driver. 


Associated factors further break down the reasons for truck crashes. There are hundreds of related factors noted in the report. Some of the most common include problems with brakes, lack of familiarity with the road, prescription or over-the-counter drug use, traffic flow interruptions, illegal maneuvers, and fatigue. Tired truck driver accidents also make up a large part of the crashes, however, without proof of logbook violations the cause is often subjective.


New FMCSA Study


The FMCSA will undertake a newly updated study to review the causes of truck accidents. The study is to identify the common factors associated with truck crashes to provide insight to prevent future occurrences. The new survey will consider the many changes in technology, vehicle safety, and driver behaviors since the last study. An increase in distracted driving due to using cell phones and texting is likely to contribute to some accidents. Using new fleet management and navigation systems along with safety features, may have caused changes in the reasons behind big rig collisions.


The FMCSA also hopes the study will explain how well truck safety systems perform in the prevention of serious crashes. The FMCSA is accepting requests and comments on how to create a new study. The latest research will develop a baseline of truck crash factors that will help to improve crash avoidance strategies. Fatal truck crashes have been increasing steadily, and the study may provide answers that can reverse the trend. The last review was the basis for a report sent to Congress.


Truck crashes can have severe consequences for victims. If you were hurt in a truck crash, we could help. You may be owed money for your damages such as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Contact Baumgartner Law Firm for a free consultation today.