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Car drivers are to blame for most truck accidents

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, more than 5,000 road users are killed around the country each year in truck accidents. Missouri media outlets often cover these accidents when many lives have been lost and distracted, tired or intoxicated truck drivers have been blamed, but the data suggests that it is passenger vehicle drivers who are more likely to be responsible. The DOT data reveals that about 70 percent of the crashes involving large trucks each year are caused by reckless or negligent car drivers.

In 2015, 29 percent of the road users killed in truck accidents lost their lives when the passenger vehicle they were traveling in struck a semi-tractor trailer head-on. Experts say that this kind of crash is most often caused by fatigued or distracted car drivers who cross the center line or impatient motorists who misjudge passing maneuvers. A further 29 percent of truck accident fatalities in 2015 occurred when passenger vehicles rear-ended big rigs.

The figures also reveal that excessive speed and truck driver fatigue remain persistent road safety problems. Serious truck accidents are rare on Mondays and Tuesdays when truck drivers are refreshed and energetic, but they surge on Thursdays and Fridays once fatigue has set in. Excessive speed is thought to be the reason why 83 percent of the road users killed in tractor-trailer crashes each year lose their lives on freeways, interstates or major roads.

Experienced personal injury attorneys may anticipate claims of comparative negligence in truck accident cases when police reports do not clearly identify the responsible party. Attorneys may seek to counter these arguments, and they could scrutinize hours of service logs or previous citations for indications that the truck driver or logistics company involved have violated federal road safety regulations in the past.