I admit I’ve always been a little nervous driving near 18-wheelers. I try to avoid staying next to one for any longer than absolutely necessary. My brain knows that big-rig drivers are generally excellent at their jobs, but my gut tells me to stay away from those trucks. Perhaps it’s because of the number of clients I’ve had over the past 41 years who have been injured in big truck crashes. Or maybe I’m just a wimp. Who knows?
At any rate, this recent article on the Transport Topics site has not made me feel any safer . Here are excerpts:
Roughly one-third of the 3,446 truck drivers involved in fatal accidents in 2010 were cited in police accident reports for such contributing “driver-related factors” as speeding, fatigue and inattention, a senior federal transportation researcher said.
The numbers show that truck drivers generally are good drivers and statistically safer than drivers of passenger vehicles, said Ralph Craft, a senior transportation researcher with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
By contrast, nearly two-thirds of passenger vehicle drivers involved in fatal crashes were cited for driver-related factors in police accident reports during 2010, Craft said.
Federal large truck fatal accident data also shows that “vehicle-related factors” such as bad brakes, unsafe tires, or broken lights were cited only 4.2% for trucks, and 3.1% for passenger vehicle fatal crashes.
“It doesn’t necessarily mean that that factor was the reason for the crash,” Craft said. “It just means that factor was present at the time of the crash.”
There are a number of other contributing factors sometimes cited in fatal crashes, ranging from bad weather to obstructed driver views, but they are not broken out by researchers who study the roughly 100,000 accidents reported annually to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, a large crash database maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Craft said.