Most recently, the federal Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program continues to hold the CMV driver at fault even when it is clear that the car driver was the leading factor in the accident.
This continues to be an issue that trucking organizations such as the ATA and OOIDA continue to push for the FMCSA to reevaluate the CSA procedures.
Although professional truck drivers have long taken the stand that car drivers are the leading cause of auto-truck crashes, industry safety initiatives have continued to pass the blame toward the commercial driver.
An updated crash study released February 2013 by the American Trucking Association (ATA) further expands on the authenticity that car drivers are the leading cause of crashes involving autos and big trucks.
The study found that car drivers were at fault of the following:
- Head-on crashes: 91%
- Opposite-direction side-swipes: 91%
- Rear-end crashes: 71%
- Same-direction side-swipes: 77%
Past studies have also provided important data on the nature of car driver errors resulting in auto-truck crashes as listed below with the percentage of trucks and cars respectively:
- Over-compensating during evasive steering: Trucks: 1%, Cars: 6%
- Asleep at the wheel: 1%, 9%
- Physical problems: 2%, 6%
Other factors also were highlighted by the 2008 Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS) which were not necessarily listed as a direct cause for crashes but were noted for being present at the time:
- Driver fatigue: Trucks: 7%, Cars: 15%
- Tire problems: 3%, 6%
- Aggressive driving: 5%, 9%
- Driver illness: 1%, 8%
- Illegal drugs: 0.4%, 7%
- Alcohol use: 0.3%, 9%
Contributing factors on the part of truck drivers were placed on three areas within mechanical and environmental issues:
- Brake problems: Trucks: 27%, Cars: 2%
- Unfamiliar with roadway: 19%, 10%
- Work pressure/stress: 10%, 3%
Motor carriers and professional CMV drivers have continued to express concerns on how the CSA records crash data as part of the program’s crash indicator score that is placed on both carriers and drivers.
As it currently stands, truck drivers legally sitting at a red light, for example, and who is hit from behind by another vehicle, will still have a negative safety score placed against their record. The industry continues to voice its opposition to the unfairness of the program.
As all agree within the industry, every accident is a tragedy to be taken seriously, but it is important to reiterate the facts concerning the fault of car-truck crashes in hopes of increasing awareness and education among auto drivers.
© 2013, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.