The Truth About Trucking Crashes

The Truth About Trucking Crashes

What’s the #1 cause of trucking crashes in the US? It’s a polarizing question. A lot of drivers claim that fatigued truckers are the top cause. Most truckers claim that drivers of four-wheel vehicles and motorcycles are to blame. In order to get to the bottom of this issue, we need to explore the truth about trucking crashes.

Cars and Motorcycles

Passenger vehicles are responsible for a surprising number of truck accidents. According to the American Trucking Association, a trucking interest group, passenger vehicles are responsible for nearly 75% of multi-vehicle truck crashes. Traffic safety research from AAA and the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute found similar results.

Even government agencies, such as the National Highway Transportation found almost identical results. Truck drivers weren’t the only cause of the remaining multi-vehicle collisions. Negligent maintenance and other factors also play a role.

The most important thing to realize about these statistics is that cars and motorcycles are not responsible for 80% of all trucking crashes, only 75% of crashes involving more than one vehicle.


Around 40% of trucking crashes involve only one vehicle: The truck. While other motorists aren’t hurt in these crashes, single-vehicle trucking wrecks impact the truck driver, pedestrians, and may cause property damage.

As mentioned, there are many causes for these crashes. While some are the result of fatigued trucks or truckers driving under the influence, others are the result of poor maintenance (failed brakes, blown-out tires, refrigeration short-circuit, etc.). Others still are caused by poor weather and unfamiliar routes.

There are many causes of trucking crashes. To paint them all as the carelessness of a trucker or a driver is dishonest and doesn’t paint the full picture.

The Truth About Trucking Crashes

Consider the following: Cars and motorcycles are responsible for 75% of multi-vehicle crashes, but that only accounts for 60% of all truck crashes. Put another way, people in cars and motorcycles are responsible for less than 50% of all trucking accidents.

Still, that number is very high. It may not be 50% exactly, but it’s pretty close. So what can we do about this? What can we do to reduce trucking crashes?

Preventing Trucking Crashes

Think back to your driving test at the DMV. Did you have to show your proficiency in driving around large trucks? Were there any questions on your written test about truck safety? Probably not. Although there are 500,000 truck crashes per year in the US, accounting for 12% of all accidents, drivers aren’t learning how to be safe around large trucks.

At the same time, earning a trucking license requires less training than at any time since the 1950s. Trucking interest groups, like the American Trucking Association, have successfully pushed to reduce the requirements needed to earn a commercial driver’s license (CDL). That means more inexperienced truckers on the road and a higher likelihood of crashes. Under the new rules, a contracted trucker hauling a 20-ton tractor-trailer may have less behind-the-wheel experience than a teenage driver applying for their license.

The key to reducing trucking accidents is education. We need to do a better job of training both drivers and truckers about the dangers of these large vehicles. There should be no hesitation when it comes to road safety. These facts should be so ingrained in us that they become second nature. It may not be easy, but it’s the only way to prevent these tragedies.

If you or someone you love suffered serious injuries or even wrongful death in a truck accident, we can help. If you’d like an experienced St. Francis County truck accident attorney from Easley & Houseal, PLLC to evaluate your case, please send us an email or call (870) 330-0015.


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