As with any type of adverse event in Kentucky, regulatory bodies strive to determine the cause of trucking accidents in the hopes of preventing them from occurring in the future. In 2007, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration performed the Large Truck Crash Causation Study to examine the reasons for accidents involving large trucks. The study looked at 963 truck crashes of the more than 120,000 truck accidents that occurred over a 32-month period.

For each crash, the FMCSA collected data on up to 1,000 elements, including but not limited to the condition of the truck driver at the time of the incident, the condition of the driver of the other vehicle(s), roadway factors, drivers’ behavior during the crash and weather conditions. The goal was to determine what elements increased a driver’s risk of being involved in a serious accident, or the “causation” of serious trucking accidents. The FMSCA then categorized each element into three key variables for assessing crash risk: Critical event, critical reason and associated factors.

The FMCSA assigned three major critical events to truck drivers. The first was veering out of the lane of travel and either off the road or into another lane. The FMCSA assigned this critical event to 32% of large trucks in the sample. The second leading critical event was loss of control of the vehicle due to too fast of a speed, poor road conditions, vehicle systems failure or cargo shift. 29% of trucks received this assignment. The third most common critical event involved a large truck rear ending a leading vehicle, which 22% of trucks did.

When assigning critical reason, the FMCSA assigned 55% of large trucks “fault” in single-vehicle and multi-vehicle crashes. When just one truck was involved and one passenger vehicle, 44% received an assignment of critical reason.

The FMCSA divided critical reasons into three additional categories. The three categories are driver, vehicle and environment. The data suggests that drivers were the main reason for 87% of accidents involving large trucks.

This article is for learning purposes only. You should not use it as legal advice.