Some North Carolina drivers are nervous on the road near large trucks. This is a valid concern considering that these huge commercial vehicles are capable of causing catastrophic damage. While there are many reasons for truck accidents, a study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration established the top three causes.

In 2007, the FMCSA released the Large Truck Causation Study that included in-depth investigations into 963 cases pulled from 120,000 fatal and injury incidents that included 141,000 trucks. The study revealed the main factors that led to trucking crashes, many of which were preventable. One factor involved in 22% of truck crashes was unfamiliarity with roads, usually a result of the driver’s failure to plan their route. Another main factor was speeding based on the conditions, which was a factor in 23% of truck crashes. Depending on conditions such as wet or snowy roads, a vehicle that’s going faster than the posted speed limit can be considered speeding. The FMCSA recommends that truck drivers should reduce their speed by one-third from the legal limit when going through wet roads and by half or more if they are on snowy roads. The third, and largest, factor was brake problems. These were involved in 29% of crashes.

When two or more of those factors are combined, the risk for fatal accidents involving trucks grows significantly. Drivers who keep their breaks adjusted, respect speed limits and conditions and plan their routes to become familiar with the roads help prevent accidents.

Accidents, however preventable, can happen. Someone who has been hurt in a truck crash might consider consulting a personal injury lawyer. Legal counsel could review the evidence available, including police and witness reports, and help the client file the correct claim. They might also negotiate a fair settlement with the applicable insurance company.