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Frequency and common causes of tractor-trailer accidents

In 2012, authorities reported that just over 330,000 tractor-trailers were involved in road collisions across the country. These accidents were reportedly responsible for 104,000 injuries and 3,921 deaths. Drivers in South Carolina might be curious about the common causes of these crashes.

Of the number of injuries caused in 2012 truck-related accidents, 24 percent were to occupants of the trucks and 73 percent were to occupants of the other vehicles involved. Among the related deaths, 18 percent were to occupants of the trucks and 73 percent were to passengers of the other vehicles involved. Weekdays were the most likely days for fatal crashes involving tractor-trailer trucks, accounting for 78 percent.

In South Carolina, there were 1,163 vehicles involved in fatal accidents in 2012, and 79 of those vehicles were commercial trucks. This amounts to 6.8 percent of total vehicles in the state and 2.1 percent of total trucks involved in fatal crashes across the country.

Some of the common causes of tractor-trailer accidents on the truck drivers' part include incentives to drive faster, incentives to drive for more consecutive hours than advised, and unrealistic expectations and schedules from employers that prompt drivers to risk safety.

Factors that lead other drivers to cause tractor-trailer accidents include improper merging into traffic, abruptly changing lanes in front of trucks, driving in the zero-visibility zones of trucks and driving between trucks. Other causes include unsafe passing, failing to remove a vehicle completely onto the shoulder or off of a highway and pulling into traffic without sufficient acceleration.

If people are injured in a tractor-trailer accident, either the truck driver or passenger vehicle driver could be at fault. If the truck driver is at fault, the individual and their employer might be held liable for the damages. If the passenger vehicle driver is at fault, the truck driver might be entitled to compensation.

Source: FindLaw,"Common Causes of Truck Accidents," Accessed on Feb. 19, 2015

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