As we know full well in Towson and surrounding areas, interstates and major highways are difficult to navigate safely because of the large commercial trucks that crowd busy thoroughfares. Far too often 18-wheelers are involved in highway wrecks that result in serious injuries and fatalities.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently announced that it will undertake a major new study to identify common causes of large commercial truck crashes.

The FMCSA is soliciting suggestions and comments about how it should conduct the study. The federal agency last conducted a major crash study from 2001 to 2003.

According to a trucking industry publication, truckers and their employers have submitted comments to the FMCSA, and perhaps unsurprisingly, tend to blame passenger vehicles and trucking regulations for causing crashes. A trucking lobbying group said the FMCSA “must drastically improve upon the failed structure and methodologies of the initial Large Truck Crash Causation Study conducted in 2001-2003.”

The initial study (released in 2006), showed that when commercial truck drivers cause crashes, those violent collisions often involve the following factors:

  • A trucker with inadequate training in driving technique and in defensive driving
  • Trucker compensation systems that reward truck drivers for driving faster and longer than is safe
  • Unrealistic trucker schedules and employer expectations that encourage truck drivers to hurry and take risks rather than drive safely

Most observers expect that the new truck crash study will give us information about how advances in technology have made motorists safer or more at risk. Those advances include electronic hour-and-distance logging systems in commercial vehicles, as well as GPS systems, infotainment consoles, driver-assist software and so on.

We know that certain factors play prominent roles in trucker-caused crashes:

  • Trucker fatigue
  • Distracted driving
  • Impairment (alcohol and drugs)
  • Excess speed
  • Improper cargo loading
  • Insufficient training

If you or a loved one has been in a commercial truck crash in Baltimore County, contact a Towson attorney experienced in personal injury and wrongful death litigation.