New study analyzes main causes of trucking accidents

A study may be of interest to commercial truck drivers in West Virginia and around the country because it analyzes the most common factors in trucking accidents. With more than 15 million truckers on America's roads, the rate of such accidents can be rather high.

The Large Truck Crash Causation Study is the product of a collaboration between the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Researchers analyzed the data for 120,000 fatal commercial truck accidents that took place over a 33-month period and found that in 68,000 cases, the trucker was at fault.

The causes were then broken down into four categories. The first, decision, encompasses reckless behavior like speeding, driving too close to other vehicles, and misjudging other vehicles' speed. These accounted for 38 percent of the 68,000 accidents. The second, recognition, covers cases where the trucker failed to recognize a danger on the road or was inattentive or distracted. 28 percent of crashes fell under this.

The last two categories are performance and non-performance. The former involves situations where truckers panicked or exercised poor directional control. Non-performance refers to cases where truckers fell asleep or suffered a medical episode.

When commercial trucks are involved in a collision, occupants of other vehicles can incur severe injuries due to the sheer size and weight of big rigs. Those who are harmed might need lengthy periods of expensive medical care and treatment, during which they are unable to earn a living. If it can be demonstrated that the accident was caused by the negligence of the truck driver or trucking company, an attorney could assist a victim in seeking appropriate compensation for these and other losses.

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