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What Percentage of Truck Accidents are Caused by Cars?

Accident on a road in September, car after a collision with a heavy truck

Semi-trucks are often involved in some of the most devastating vehicle accidents on U.S. roadways. Because of their significant size and weight compared to passenger cars, motorcycles, and bicycles, these collisions often lead to severe injuries, sometimes even death.

Limited maneuverability, paired with the long time and distance it takes for a big rig to stop, leads many to believe that truck drivers are at fault for most truck vs. car accidents. However, are the headlines about “reckless truckers” really accurate, or do they simply overshadow the complex dynamics of road safety that involve all drivers?

Read on as we demystify what percentage of truck accidents are caused by cars, as well as the most common types of truck accidents. 

What Percentage Of Truck Accidents Are Caused By Cars?

Data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Large Truck Crash Causation Study reveals that in two-vehicle collisions involving trucks and cars, trucks were responsible for only 44% of accidents. In comparison, passenger cars were at fault in 56% of cases.

The primary causes of these incidents were driver errors, including failure to recognize or appropriately respond to hazardous conditions. The study also found that passenger vehicle drivers were more likely than truckers to drive fatigued or under the influence.

Further analysis by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), which examined over 8,300 fatal car-truck collisions, concluded that car drivers were at fault in 70% of these crashes, as opposed to 16% for truck drivers.

If you are a truck driver who has been involved in a severe accident caused by another motorist, you have the right to seek damages. Our leading truck accident lawyers in Ohio are here to help—your initial consultation is free, and if you choose us to handle your case, there will be no fees unless we win. Call 330-762-0700 today to arrange your complimentary case review.

Why Do Truck Accidents Lead To Such Serious Injuries?

In 2022 alone, there were over 120,000 large trucking accidents that resulted in an injury nationwide, with nearly 6,000 of these accidents fatal. The majority of deaths in these large-truck crashes were occupants of other vehicles (70%), truck occupants (19%), and non-occupants, including pedestrians and bicyclists (11%).

So, while car drivers are primarily responsible for many of these incidents due to unsafe driving behaviors and poor decision-making, it’s crucial to remember that they often bear the brunt of the consequences, suffering more severe injuries and fatalities. 

Common Types of Truck Accident Injuries

The consequences of a commercial truck accident are often nothing less than devastating. After all, it’s not uncommon for 18-wheelers to jackknife, flip, or drive off the road and down steep embankments in the event of an accident.

Some common injuries that truck drivers may sustain following a truck accident with other motorists include: 

  • Neck and back injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Broken or fractured bones
  • Internal organ damage
  • Whiplash
  • Burns
  • Lacerations
  • Loss of limb
  • Paralysis
  • Death

5 Common Types of Semi-Truck Accidents

  1. Rollover Crashes

To avoid a collision, truck drivers may suddenly swerve or turn too sharply, causing the truck to flip over. These crashes also result from the improper loading of cargo, brake failures, and hazardous road conditions.

  1. Head-On Collisions

When motorists are speeding, under the influence, or driving recklessly, they can end up in the big rig’s path. If the motorist or truck driver cannot react in time to avoid the head-on crash, the result can be catastrophic.

  1. Rear-End Collisions

Drivers who are distracted, under the influence, speeding, or tailgating can crash into the back of a truck. These accidents can also occur when a motorist pulls in front of a truck and fails to leave enough distance for the truck to stop safely.

  1.  Jackknife Accidents

When drivers cut off a large commercial truck, the trucker turns to avoid hitting another vehicle, or the big rig loses traction with the road, the truck can jackknife. Jackknifing accidents occur when a semi’s trailer and cab fold in on each other and create a V-shape.

  1. T-Bone Accidents

Also known as side-impact crashes, T-bone accidents occur most frequently in intersections. When drivers fail to yield or act recklessly and run red lights, they can crash into the side of the truck’s cab or trailer, creating a T-shape.

How Cars Can Cause Truck Accidents

Although commercial truck accidents can result from an endless range of circumstances, here are some common causes.

Distracted Driving

Drivers are not immune to distractions while on the road. Cell phones, navigation systems, children, and pets can take a motorist’s attention away from operating their vehicle, ultimately making them unaware of their surroundings.

Driving Under The Influence

Driver impairment is another common cause of driver-related truck accidents. When a driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, their ability to properly assess their surroundings and react to hazards or others on the road is greatly impaired.

Driver Fatigue

When many think of truck accidents involving driver fatigue, they automatically think of the truck driver. That is often not the case—like truck drivers, motorists also fall prey to fatigue or drowsiness. Much like driving under the influence, driving while tired inhibits a driver’s ability to be adequately aware of their surroundings and quickly react to other vehicles on the road.

Reckless Driving

As motorists, we have all witnessed passenger vehicles driving recklessly around commercial trucks. They impatiently ride closely behind trucks, cut them off, speed past them, and fail to yield to them. Because large trucks can’t react to the reckless actions of aggressive drivers, these situations often result in devastating accidents.

Seeking Compensation After An Ohio Truck Accident

If another driver or party caused your truck accident, you have the right to seek damages under Ohio law. 

With the help of an Ohio truck accident attorney, you may be able to receive damages in your truck accident case for: 

  • Medical expenses
  • Costs for future medical care
  • Rehabilitation, including physical therapy
  • Lost wages and/or future earnings
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Emotional trauma
  • Disability
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of enjoyment
  • Wrongful death damages (if you lost a loved one in a truck crash)

The compensation you are entitled to will ultimately depend on the nature of the accident and the type and extent of your injuries. 

Contact A Top Truck Accident Lawyer In Ohio

As a commercial truck driver, you spend your life on the road. With years of training and experience, you go to great lengths to keep yourself and others safe. Yet, many times, insurance companies, judges, and juries are inclined to believe truckers are the ones at fault for accidents—despite the data on what percentage of truck accidents are caused by cars. 

A skilled truck accident attorney can help prove the facts of your case and show who caused the crash, helping you fight for the justice and monetary compensation you deserve. Slater & Zurz’s personal injury attorneys in Ohio have over 100 years of collective experience representing our clients in serious injury cases. 

To get started, contact us online or call 330-762-0700 to arrange your FREE consultation.