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What are the top reasons semi-trucks cause collisions?

On Behalf of | Dec 5, 2023 | Truck Accidents

Either vehicle involved in a traditional two-vehicle collision could be at fault for the crash. When a wreck occurs between a semi-truck and a passenger vehicle, the operator of the commercial truck is sometimes to blame. Obviously, those in smaller vehicles cannot control what a semi-truck driver does. However, when they are aware of the leading causes of crashes, they may have an easier time driving safely when close to 18-wheelers.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reviews crash information to find trends that can improve public safety. What does the FMCSA report as the leading causes of semi-truck collisions?

Decision-making errors

The number one reason that a commercial driver would cause a crash is that they make the wrong choice. Decision-making errors could involve traveling at a speed that is too high given road conditions or traffic density. Drivers might also maintain an inappropriately small following distance when behind smaller vehicles in traffic. According to the FMCSA, approximately 38% of the crashes caused by semi-trucks are the result of a driver making the wrong choice.

Recognition issues

Drivers have to constantly monitor their surroundings for risk factors and make the best choice given their circumstances. Big commercial trucks have more noticeable blind spots than smaller vehicles. Therefore, recognition errors, including failing to notice someone in a vehicle’s blind spots are another top cause of semi-truck crashes. Recognition errors can also be the result of distraction If a driver is down at a phone or focuses on something other than the road. This type of mistake accounts for another 28% of collisions.


The third most common issue related to a semi-truck driver that causes crashes involves an inability to do the job. A driver might fall asleep at the wheel because of extreme fatigue. They could also experience some kind of emergency medical situation, like a heart attack, that renders them incapable of controlling the semi-truck. Non-performance issues are the underlying cause of another 12% of the crashes caused by semi-trucks.

In general, other drivers want to leave adequate space when driving near semi-trucks and monitor them carefully for signs of issues, like a driver swerving because they are fatigued or under the influence. Learning more about factors that contribute to crash risk may help people make safety in top priority when they’re in traffic.