During the past few years, federal Hours of Service laws have been passed regulating the amount of hours truckers can travel break-free. Another requirement that has become mandatory is truckers keeping track of their drive times on a electronic log.
Many observers have taken these measures as a sign that fatigue must plague truckers a lot. It's lead many to conclude that this factor must often be to blame for crashes. Statistics show that this is far from the case though.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) data doesn't reflect that fatigue is one of the five highest causes of truck crashes. Instead, it shows that driver error is the primary factor believed to result in tractor-trailer accidents. In fact, trucker error is listed as playing a role in causing 20 percent of all truck crashes. It's believed that only 13 percent of all semi-truck accidents can be blamed on fatigue.
As for these driver errors thought to be to blame for these truck crashes, FMCSA lists both speeding and improper driving for weather or traffic conditions as the reason for most of them. In other cases, truckers fail to maintain a proper distance between themselves and others while driving. Poor visibility, a lack of familiarity with the roadway and illegal turns or change of lanes round out the top five spots for why truck crashes occur.
Factors like trucker fatigue or illness, distractions and improper anticipation of other motorists' actions are important, yet less frequent causes of truck crashes.
The fact that fatigue is not listed among the top five factors causing truck crashes doesn't mean that it's an insignificant factor though. In 2007, before Hours of Service legislation was passed, FMCSA reported that there were 25 percent more fatal truck crashes in the U.S. than the 3,484 that occurred in 2010.
An analysis of nearly 1,000 tractor-trailer-involved crashes in 2007 revealed that the fatigued operator of a passenger car was at least 50 percent more likely to cause a fatal crash than a trucker was.
If you've been seriously injured in an crash with a tractor-trailer, then a Los Lunas, New Mexico, truck accident attorney may advise you of your right to recover hospital and medical bills, lost wages and other damages.
Source: U Ship, "Top ten causes of truck accidents: Traffic, roads, fatigue and more," accessed Nov. 09, 2017