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February 12, 2013 10:30 AM, EST
Automobile Drivers Often at Fault in Truck-Involved Crashes, ATA Says

The majority of serious crashes involving cars and heavy trucks are caused by driver factors such as speeding or failure to stay in lane by the automobile drivers, according to a report released by American Trucking Associations.

The report — citing studies by groups including the University of Michigan, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, AAA and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration — show that many crashes involving a commercial truck and a smaller vehicle were initiated or caused by the driver of the smaller vehicle.

“The principal policy reason for evaluating relative contribution, and the nature of errors that increase crash risk, is to design and implement cost-effective truck safety programs that yield the greatest safety benefits,” said ATA President Bill Graves.

“In the context of prevention and countermeasures, it’s critical to understand relative contribution since cars are involved in the majority of truck crashes,” he said in a statement released Tuesday with the report.

“It is imperative that FMCSA institute a fair process to address the question of crash accountability in its Compliance, Safety, Accountability monitoring system,” Graves said. 

Last week, an accident reconstruction expert told an FMCSA panel that solely using police accident reports as a basis to assign fault in crashes is not always a reliable method.