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80 percent of car-truck crashes caused by car drivers, ATA report says

A report released this week by the American Trucking Associations concludes that many  more times than not, car drivers are at fault when cars and trucks crash with one another. ATA’s report rounded up reports from several large studies for its findings, including from agencies like the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and groups like the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute.

The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute — a leader in truck-related crash research, says ATA — studied 8,309 fatal car-truck crashes to determine fault. 81 percent of the time, car drivers were assigned at fault, says the study, versus 27 percent for truck drivers.

A similar study done by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2003 studied 10,092 fatal accidents, deeming that cars were responsible 91 percent of the time during head-on crashes, 91 percent of the time in opposite-direction sideswipes, 71 percent of rear-end crashes and 77 percent of same-direction sideswipes.

FMCSA’s studies looked at 6,131 fatal car-truck crashes over a three-year period in 2007, 2008 and 2009. In 2007 and 2008, cars were assigned fault in 85 percent of crashes. The number dropped to 81 percent in 2009.

ATA President Bill Graves says FMCSA needs to take this information into account for its Compliance, Safety, Accountability program and figure out a way to deal with the issue of crash accountability in scoring.

“Every crash, and every fatality and injury, suffered on our nation’s highways is a tragedy,” said ATA President Bill Graves said.  “Preventing them from happening requires a proper understanding of the causes of these crashes. It is also tragic that carriers and drivers across this country are saddled with guilt and blame for many crashes they could do nothing to prevent.”

Click here to see the full report.

 

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15 comments
KennyFoster1
KennyFoster1

Hmmm last I'd heard it was more like 90% car fault. Now as far as trucks speeding up and all that. I'll agree a lot do, do what you've said. But, I put that on the trainer who trained that driver. My father and his friends taught me. Somewhere that kinda of courtesy got lost. I think most do move over for ramp traffic after they learn from watching others do it. But kinda funny how the ATA says it's 80% car fault. But yet they push for ELDS and speed limiters all for safety. How's that gonna make four wheelers less reckless around big trucks? Seems like it's backwards. Just my 2 cents. Be safe out there. They need back home.

jnmaher
jnmaher

The study does not reflect habits. I am a large truck and bus driver so I am very confident in what I am saying here. A common scenario I see many times each day on the road, is a smaller vehicle attempting to pass a Large Truck and the Large Truck driver will speed up to keep them from doing so (or simply challenge them). Or, if it is a merge situation a large truck driver does what everyone else does, they give the merging vehicle "barely" enough room. in other words they pressure others and get in to that danger zone, act rudely, aggressively, you could even use the term "Bully". The smaller vehicle is left scrambling to figure whether or not they are seen or being let over. This is a disgrace that happens all to often. If that smaller vehicle "cuts" in front of a truck that is pressuring them, I think it should be 80% fault of the "professional" and 20% to the other vehicle.

The point is, the "professional" drivers we speak of and are supposed to be, foresee all of this stuff about to happen, but instead of backing off and letting it happen SAFELY, they continue with the pressure. This is not professional behavior and this is our problem. 

We need to stop blaming other vehicles on our problems. 

I challenge any driver reading this to critique themselves and see who you behave. If you have an open mind you may be surprised to find out that you can make it a whole lot safer by changing YOUR behavior. After all, we are the Professionals, right?

Of course, this does not address the fact that a very, very small percentage of large truck and bus drivers obey the following distance rules. They behave like everyone else on the road. In danger, constantly due to their own decisions, behavior and habits. It is time to look in the mirror.

Driver11111
Driver11111

Well first off ,most big trucks have a 65-70 mph governor , so they can't go faster than the car as a car can always go faster than a truck. So we can excuse your entire input.

ClaireLynnRodden
ClaireLynnRodden

@jnmaher    22+ years of this myself, and I agree that this industry has gotten way off the mark as far as actual safety values are concerned.  Too many drivers have lost track of defensive driving, and far too many are positively rude.  Cuddle all that with a heavy influx of foreign drivers who bring with them not only a sense of entitlement but an attitude of "I'll show you.." and this is to what the trucking community is being reduced.   I'm in total alignment with your observations--the percentage of truck accidents could vastly be reduced if all these snot-nosed upstarts could actually work on becoming a PROFESSIONAL driver instead of just cookie-molded steering wheel holders, and poor ones at that. 

JensLLutz
JensLLutz

NO NO NO. It is the auto and truck manufacturers fault! If you don't believe that, just ast a gun manufacturer.

John
John

Not just safety ratings, hiw about how it affects our insurance rates and the frivolous lawsuits. But hey the ATA has never been for any of us little guys, just major players looking to squeeze out competition.

BertWagner
BertWagner

I still don't see a working link to the "full report" now I'm getting an error message saying "off cannot be opened." as far as I'm concerned it's a dead link to a non existent report.

BertWagner
BertWagner

If the link to the report would actually work instead of sending me to a "404 Not Found" that would be great

Eldensword
Eldensword

Maybe the current, presidential admin can try to manipulate THESE numbers too, to show a need for "change"....Oh wait, they already have. The "good and plenty" Americans under pressure and threat of change to protect the feelings of the weak minded minority, again...

James Jaillet is the News Editor for CCJ and Overdrive. Reach him at jjaillet@randallreilly.com.