Studies conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) suggest that the most common causes of traffic accidents involving semi-tractor trailers are driver related. The most common driver related reason (the failure leading to a critical event) for large truck crashes involve decisions of the driver, which include such things as: driving too fast for conditions, misjudging the speed of other vehicles, or following other vehicles too closely.
The second most common reason for large truck crashes was identified as recognition related, which the “Large Truck Crash Causation Study” identified as: inattentiveness, distraction inside or outside the vehicle, or failure to observe the situation adequately enough for some other reason.
Some of the most common factors associated with the vehicle accidents the “Large Truck Crash Causation Study” analyzed included: brake problems, traffic flow interruption (congestion, previous crash), prescription drug use, traveling too fast for conditions, unfamiliarity with the roadway, roadway problems, required to stop before crash (traffic control devices, crosswalk), over-the-counter drug use, inadequate surveillance, and fatigue.
Obviously, as the studies suggest, multiple factors often contribute to any given motor vehicle accident. Fatigue, drinking alcohol, and speeding are major factors in motor vehicle crashes overall. While their presence does not always result in a crash, those three factors, as well as other drivers, vehicles, and environmental factors, can increase the likelihood that a crash will occur.