A new report on Southern California Public Radio says that big rig crashes are on the rise.
According to the SCPR report “Big Rigs, Big Risks”, crashes involving commercial vehicles climbed from 4.9% of all crashes in 2009 to 5.6% of all crashes in 2014. There were 22,137 crashes involving at least one truck in 2014, per SCPR. The report also cites a 2015 FMCSA statistic that in crashes between trucks and cars, 97% of those who die are in the passenger vehicle.
The report blames the increase in truck crashes in southern California on an improved economy and more truck traffic around the ports.
In the end, the report blames most crashes on driver error: “The majority of crashes involve some kind of human error, either on the part of the truck driver, the driver of the passenger car or both. Unsafe speed, by either driver, is the top-cited cause of crashes where driver factors play a role. Distraction and fatigue are also common problems.” The report goes on to discuss the role of regulations like the ELD mandate and lower speed limits for trucks in increasing highway safety.
The report also highlights veteran truck driver and driving instructor Rudy Quiroz, who says that bad behavior from four wheelers is often the cause of crashes. It also cites a University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute for the Federal Highway Administration study which found that car drivers are at least partly at fault in 81% of crashes — compared to just 27% of truck drivers.
You can take a look at the report in full here.