According to a The Federal Motor Carry Safety Administration’s 2006 report, there are approximately 141,000 truck crashes every year. In 77,000 of these truck accidents – more than half – fault was attributed to the truck driver. This is interesting because we have been getting data from the American Trucking Assns. and the Truckload Carriers Association for years telling us that the truck driver’s are rarely at fault in truck accidents. Yet this ostensibly objective study says just the opposite.
According to the FMCA 2006 report, the top 10 causes of truck accidents where the truck driver is a fault:
1. Prescription drug use (26%)
2. Traveling too fast (23%)
3. Unfamiliar with the roadway (22%)
4. Over the counter drug use (18%)
5. Inadequate surveillance 14%)
6. Fatigue (13%)
7. Illegal maneuver (9%)
8. Exterior distraction (9%)
9. Inadequate evasive action (7%)
10. Aggressive driving (7%)
Truck accident lawyers focus a lot of the fatigue issue. It is hard to go to a seminar for truck accident lawyers without hearing a lengthy presentation of fatigue. This study indicates that fatigue is less of a concern then some plaintiffs’ truck accident attorneys might have thought.
Of course, the Oliver Stone in me sees it differently. There are a lot more tired truck drivers on the road these days. The FMCA in 2003 increased the maximum driving hours to 77 from 60 over 7 consecutive days and to 88 hours from 70 over 8 consecutive days in spite of evidence that we had not decreased the number of truck accidents in this country. It is possible that FMCA is motivated to interpret the data in a way that decreases the number of accident attributed to fatigue?