March 27, 2006

Study shows truck crashes mostly caused by driver error

Washington, D.C. – A study released by the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) shows that drivers of large trucks and other vehicles involved in truck crashes are ten times more likely to be the cause of the crash than other factors, such as weather, road conditions or vehicle performance. The study was the first nationwide examination of all pre-crash factors.

“This study makes it clear that we need to spend more time addressing driver behaviour, as well as making sure trucks and buses are fit for the road,” says Annette M. Sandberg, FMCSA Administrator. “The multitude of data now available will allow us to analyze specific areas of behaviour and work with our industry and safety partners to develop an agenda on driver safety that will improve commercial motor vehicle driver performance.”

FMCSA will conduct analysis to further examine driver factors such as the use of prescription and over-the-counter drugs, speeding, fatigue, inattention, distractions, work environment, and unfamiliarity with the road.

The study, conducted with the help of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), investigated a national sample of fatal and injury crashes between April 2001 and December 2003 at 24 sites in 17 states, with each involving at least one large truck and resulting in at least one fatality or injury. The total sample was 967 crashes; action or inaction by the driver of either the truck or other vehicle was the critical reason for 88 per cent of the crashes. For a copy of the report, visit

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