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New study classifies top causes of trucking accidents

Commercial trucking accidents are all too common in California and the rest of the country. To study the most common causes of these accidents, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration got together with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and analyzed the crash data of 120,000 fatal truck crashes that occurred over a 33-month period. The results were published as the Large Truck Crash Causation Study.

Researchers found that 75 percent of the truck accidents involved at least one other vehicle. Of the 120,000 accidents, truckers were to blame for approximately 68,000. The causes were broken down into four categories: decision, recognition, non-performance and performance.

Poor decisions accounted for about 30,000 of the 68,000 accidents. Truckers would exceed the posted speed limit, drive too fast in unsafe road conditions, misjudge the speed of other vehicles or follow them too closely. Failure to recognize dangers on the road and act accordingly caused about 22,000 of the crashes. Under this category fell inattentive and distracted driving.

The category of non-performance refers to situations where truckers failed to keep their vehicles in control due to sleepiness or the sudden onset of a medical condition. Under performance fell cases where truckers exhibited poor directional control, panicked or overcompensated in turns. This category accounted for the minority of crashes, which numbered approximately 7,000.

In the event of an 18-wheeler accident, the victim may be able to file an injury claim as long as it can be shown that he or she was not to blame. Getting legal representation is recommended at this stage as a lawyer might bring in a network of investigators to find proof of the truck driver's negligence or recklessness. Once the case is in order, the lawyer may negotiate with the trucking company for a fair settlement.

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