Cranwell & Moore P.L.C., Attorneys at Law

Assessing car-truck crashes and identifying risk factors

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Motor vehicle crash statistics gathered from law enforcement reports and other sources are used to determine causation, and develop strategies to lower the number of injuries and fatalities each year. Federal and Virginia lawmakers have spent significant time over the past several decades reviewing this data as it relates to large trucks, and drafting laws that attempt to curtail the dangers associated with large commercial vehicles.

For 2015, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in Virginia, there were 70 fatalities involving a large truck, and only 19 of these deaths were drivers or passengers in the trucks. Even though truck drivers do not have nearly the same risk as their counterparts in smaller vehicles, research indicates that they are frequently not to blame for the crashes.

According to, numerous studies into fault in car-truck crashes points to the drivers of passenger vehicles. In fact, roughly 75 percent of these fatal accidents are the result of mistakes or carelessness on the part of car drivers. However, research indicates that the behaviors and conditions that lead to collisions with trucks are the same ones that typically cause crashes between two or more passenger vehicles, such as the following:

  •          Drunk driving
  •          Speeding
  •          Following too closely
  •          Heavy traffic
  •          Driver health conditions

Motorists are more likely than truck operators to cause a car-truck collision while driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, engaging in aggressive or reckless driving, overcorrecting in a sudden traffic situation, and driving while fatigued or sick. Brake problems, unfamiliarity with the roads and work stress are more likely to occur on the part of a truck driver than a motorist. Sadly, any fatal accidents involving these factors are usually preventable.

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