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Study: Truck driver negligence common cause of trucking accidents

While semi-trucks or 18-wheelers make up just 3 percent of the vehicles on the roads in the United States, accidents involving them are some of the most severe. In fact, according to data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, one out of every 10 traffic fatalities in 2009 involved large, cargo-carrying trucks.

That is why two civil engineers teamed up to conduct a study that analyzes the factors associated with trucking accidents. Their hope is that by better understanding the common characteristics of trucking accidents, action can be taken to help save lives.

In the first phase of the study, which is being funded by the Mid-America Transportation Center, the engineers compared data on truck-related fatalities throughout the nation. Currently in the second phase, the engineers are now looking for characteristics and factors that contributed to crashes that occurred in Kansas between 2004 and 2008.

So far, they have found that of the 18,919 trucking accidents that occurred in the state during that time and involved another vehicle, 81 percent ended with occupants in the other vehicles being killed. They also determined that contributory causes related to the truck driver were responsible for the accident 73 percent of the time.

The engineers found that the most common contributory cause relating to the truck drivers was failure to give enough time and attention to the task being completed. Examples of the tasks being completed include switching lanes, passing and other maneuvers on the road. Speeding, failing to yield and improper lane changes were also common contributory causes of the accidents.

As this study has already pointed out, truck driver negligence is a major cause of trucking accidents in the United States. When these types of accidents occur, the accident victims or their families are often able to sue the truck driver and/or trucking company for damages in a personal injury lawsuit.

Source: Claims Journal, "Research Examines Truck-Related Crashes to Reduce Accidents," June 18, 2012

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