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Do Trucks Actually Cause Most Trucking Accidents?

White semi-truck crashes into a silver SUV with grass and trees in the foreground

You probably already know truck accidents tend to be far more severe than accidents solely involving passenger vehicles. But what you may not know is who tends to cause the majority of truck accidents—passenger vehicles or large trucks?

The answer may surprise you. Read on to learn more.

A Bit About Truck Accidents

Trucks have several safety advantages over passenger vehicles; one of which being that a higher percentage of their mileage is driven on Interstates and other divided highways that pose reasonably low crash risks. Streets have many more variables than highways that can cause drivers to get into accidents.

Another advantage trucks have over cars is that trucks are much larger and heavier than passenger vehicles, which means the drivers won’t be affected by collisions as much as the drivers of smaller vehicles are.

Compared to crashes involving only cars, truck accidents tend to result in many more fatalities. According to the American Trucking Associations, “In 2009, 1.0% of truck crashes resulted in a fatality, versus 0.5% for car crashes. Thus, even though the overall truck crash rate is much lower than that for cars, their fatal crash rate is slightly higher.”

Who Causes Truck Accidents

While it may seem obvious that truck accidents are mostly caused by trucks, that’s actually not the case at all. The University of Michigan says that 70% of truck accidents are caused by passenger vehicles. That’s in direct contrast to the 16% of accidents caused by truck drivers alone. Additionally, a mere 10% of truck accidents can be attributed to both vehicles—trucks and passenger cars.

While this is quite a large disparity, it shouldn’t necessarily be taken at face value. According to Daniel F. Blower of the U-M Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), “One explanation for the disparity... could be that since it is typically the driver of the passenger vehicle who is killed in such fatal crashes—about 40 times more often than the truck driver—the deceased driver obviously cannot give his or her side of what happened.”

However, Blower also says that when both drivers survive a crash, the leading cause of the accident is still attributed to the passenger vehicle more than two times as often as the truck driver.

Similarly, Blower regards that he uses physical evidence in order to determine the order of events in trucking accidents. Using the physical evidence available, Blower has discovered that passenger vehicles cross the center line into trucks’ lanes more than eight times the rate that trucks cross into the lanes of passenger vehicles.

In addition, passenger vehicle drivers are:

  • Six times more likely than truck drivers to sideswipe a truck going the opposite direction
  • Four times more likely to rear-end a truck
  • Twice as likely to turn in front of a truck
  • Twice as likely to sideswipe a truck traveling in the same direction

However, Blower defends passenger vehicle drivers by stating that since passenger car drivers are more likely to die as a result of collisions with trucks than truck drivers are, passenger vehicle driver mistakes may be more related to the fact that a death occurred, more than they can be blamed for it.

We’re Here to Help You

If you’ve been involved in a vehicular accident due to someone else’s negligence that caused you to sustain injuries, our attorneys at Witherington Injury Law may be able to help. Our team is highly skilled in the area of personal injury law, particularly as it relates to truck and car accidents. We’ve helped countless other people in similar situations attain justice, and we can help you, too. Don’t hesitate to contact our office with your case right away. After all, your health is nothing to leave to chance.

Call the experienced Nashville attorneys at Witherington Injury Law today at (615) 697-6503 for a free consultation.