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Do Truck Drivers Cause Most Truck Accidents?

truck accidentCommercial truck accidents are categorized differently than other auto collisions because the outcome tends to be more devastating than crashes only involving passenger vehicles. Semi-trucks are larger, heavier, and sit much higher off the ground than ordinary cars. As a result, passenger vehicle drivers are 40 times more likely to be killed in a crash than truck drivers.

But which party is more likely to be at fault? The answer may surprise you.

Truck Accidents vs. Car Accidents

In 2018, large trucks were involved in nearly 500,000 police-reported crashes, 60,000 injury crashes, and 5,000 fatal crashes. This is compared to the roughly 6 million police-reported crashes, 3 million injury crashes, and 37,000 fatal crashes involving all vehicle types that occur per year.

Trucks are involved in fewer accidents than passenger cars for two primary reasons:

  • Commercial truck drivers undergo more advanced training than the average driver.
  • A high percentage of a truck’s mileage is driven on interstates and divided highways, which have lower crash rates than city streets.

While trucks are involved in fewer collisions overall, they have a higher chance of causing fatalities when accidents do occur. Based on the statistics above, 1.0 percent of truck accidents result in a fatality versus 0.6 percent for all types of vehicle crashes.

Who Causes Truck Accidents?

Many people assume that truckers are responsible for most truck accidents, but this isn’t actually the case. In fact, a study from the University of Michigan contends that passenger vehicle drivers contribute to 70 percent of all fatal two-vehicle crashes involving a heavy truck. The truck driver is wholly at fault in 16 percent of cases, and both drivers are in error 10 percent of the time.

This may seem like a large disparity, but don’t necessarily take it at face value. One explanation is that the passenger driver is nearly always the person killed in fatal two-vehicle crashes with a heavy truck. Therefore, the deceased driver can’t relay their side of the story, which can skew the statistics in favor of truckers. Still, even when both drivers survive, fault is attributed to the passenger vehicle driver twice as often as the trucker.

Why Does Fault Matter in a Truck Accident?

Following any motor vehicle accident, a thorough investigation takes place to determine fault, largely for insurance purposes. If you file a truck accident injury claim, fault can also affect the amount of compensation you are entitled to. Always speak with an attorney before admitting fault or accepting a settlement offer from an insurance company.

Filing a Truck Accident Injury Claim in New Jersey

Have you been injured in a truck accident? Gelman Gelman Wiskow & McCarthy LLC can investigate the incident and gather evidence to assist you in building your case. Our truck accident attorneys have 65 years of combined experience helping clients maximize their compensation in the shortest time possible. Contact us at 862-263-0770 today to schedule your free, one-hour consultation. A Spanish translator is available upon request.

  • In 2020, we settled or won, at trial/mediation/arbitration, 112 personal injury cases. Our clients recovered over ten million dollars. Our firm set a record in 2020 by settling 15 cases for $200,000.00 or more. In the last eleven years, we have settled/won over one thousand cases and our clients have recovered over 100 million dollars.
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  • Results may vary depeding on your particular facts and legal circumstances.
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