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Car drivers are often to blame for truck accidents

Federal accident data indicates that more than 5,000 road users are killed each year around the country in accidents involving semi-tractor trailers. Drowsy, impaired or distracted truck drivers are often blamed for these fatal crashes, but the information suggests that it is passenger vehicle drivers who are most often at fault. The Department of Transportation estimates that car drivers are to blame for about 70 percent of the accidents involving large commercial vehicles, and the vast majority of these crashes in New York and elsewhere involve some sort of human error.

According to DOT motor vehicle accident figures, 58 percent of the road users killed in truck crashes in 2015 were occupants of vehicles that either rear-ended a tractor-trailer or struck one head-on. Experts say that most of the head-on collisions involving trucks each year are caused by passenger vehicle drivers who cross the center line due to fatigue or distraction or misjudge a passing maneuver.

However, the DOT data also suggests that drowsy truck drivers remain a major road safety hazard. Serious truck accidents are far more common on Thursdays and Fridays when fatigue and stress levels are generally highest for truck drivers. Excessive speed is another common contributory factor in truck accidents. In 2015, 30 percent of truck accident fatalities occurred on freeways or interstates, and more than half of those killed in these crashes lost their lives on major roads.

Truck drivers often get fatigued because their employers push them to stay on the road in order to meet ambitious delivery schedules. If this results in an accident that injures occupants of other vehicles, a personal injury attorney might find it advisable to name the company as a defendant in a subsequent lawsuit.

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