Semi trucks crisscross the Upper Peninsula hauling supplies across the country on interstates and to local businesses on surface roads. The vast majority of these trucks pass through the UP without any incidents, but occasionally they cause crashes.
Semi-truck collisions are often the result of mistakes made by professional drivers, but the people in the smaller vehicles tend to pay the price. Passenger vehicles are not big enough or strong enough to protect occupants from the force generated in a crash with a commercial truck. Those involved in a commercial vehicle crash may have hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses, and the negligence of a semi-truck driver could very well be to blame.
Professional errors are a leading crash cause
According to an analysis of crash data by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), approximately 87% of the crashes caused by commercial vehicles are the result of something the truck driver did or didn’t do.
Decision-making errors are the top reported mistakes by commercial drivers. Following other vehicles too closely or driving too fast given road conditions are dangerous choices that could cause preventable crashes. Observation failures, possibly caused by distraction, are the next leading cause of semi-truck collisions. Drivers who don’t properly observe their surroundings can crash into other vehicles, possibly causing severe injury or death.
Non-performance, which might include falling asleep at the wheel, is another safety issue. Performance issues constitute the final category of driver errors blamed for semi-truck crashes.
Trucking companies are often liable for worker negligence
While the truck driver may have caused the crash by doing the wrong thing or failing to do the safest thing, they may not have direct liability for the collision. If the truck driver is an owner-operator who is self-employed, then they could be personally liable for the crash. However, vicarious liability rules often make employers responsible for the negligence of their workers. If the truck driver works for a transportation company, their employer may provide the insurance coverage for the crash and might be liable for any costs beyond what insurance.
Understanding what contributes to the worst crashes that occur might help people who need compensation after a wreck to hold the right party accountable for their losses.