The Matter Of Causation With Truck Accidents

The Matter Of Causation With Truck Accidents

When it comes to truck accidents, even the smallest collision can be deadly. If you’ve ever stood next to a semi-truck, you know just how big they are. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (, a total of 3,986 people died in large truck crashes in 2016.

What Causes Truck Accidents?

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)’s Large Truck Crash Causation Study (, large truck accidents occur due to one of the following variables:

  • Critical Event: an action or event makes a collision unavoidable
  • Critical Reason: driver error, vehicle failure, or an environmental condition caused the accident
  • Associated Factors: the persons, vehicles, and environmental conditions present at the time of the crash (brake problems, traffic flow, road problems, speed, etc.)

Critical Reason Accidents

The FMCSA found that 87% of large truck critical reason accidents are caused by driver error. The types of errors are broken down into four categories:

  • Non-Performance: this error occurs when the driver becomes physically impaired due to seizure, heart attack, falling asleep, etc.
  •  Recognition: similar to distracted driving, the driver was either inattentive, distracted, or failed to adequately observe a situation
  • Decision: the driver makes a poor decision, such as driving too fast, misjudging distance, etc.
  • Performance: the driver panics, overcompensates, or exercises poor directional control.

Many of the above errors can be attributed to driver experience and/or fatigue.

Driver Fatigue

Driver fatigue is the result of physical or mental exertion and can severely impair a person’s ability to safely operate a vehicle. Lack of a quality/quantity of sleep and driving through the night is the most common, especially with large truck drivers. Truck drivers are often under extreme pressure to meet delivery deadlines, make up lost time due to weather, or log a certain number of miles. As a result, truck drivers tend to drive while fatigued, increasing the likeliness that they will be in an accident. Unfortunately for the other drivers on the road, the common car does not stand a chance against an 80,000 lbs. semi-truck.

In an effort to combat driver fatigue, there are regulations on both the state and federal levels. Truck drivers are required to log their time driving, their time on duty but not driving (loading or unloading the truck), and their time off duty.

Driver Experience

Most states required drivers to obtain a commercial driver’s license and undergo specific training, but it can still take some time to acquire the knowledge, experience, skills, and even physical ability to drive a commercial truck.

Hire An Attorney

If you’ve been injured in a large truck accident, you might be entitled to carry out legal action against the driver or truck company. Find a truck accident lawyer with extensive experience securing the maximum fair compensation in auto accident cases.