Part of our transportation landscape is that passenger vehicles – cars, vans, buses, SUVs – share the road with delivery vehicles as small as motorcycles and as large as multi-ton tractor-trailers.

When vehicles collide, the result is damaging, dangerous and unfortunately often deadly. What are the common causes of collisions between semis and passenger vehicles?

In mid-February, two people were killed in a three-vehicle accident on Interstate 64. According to police, a pickup truck was stopped on a bridge near mile marker 55 for an unknown reason when a car stopped next to it. A commercial big rig was unable to stop and hit the other two vehicles. The drivers of the pickup and car were killed; the semi driver’s injuries were not considered life-threatening. Two dogs in one of the vehicles survived.

A major study

A study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found similar causes for the accidents between passenger vehicles and large trucks. Many of the causes came from passenger vehicles and:

  • An interruption of traffic flow
  • Unfamiliarity with the roadway
  • Driver inattention
  • Driving too fast for conditions
  • An illegal maneuver
  • Fatigue
  • Illness
  • Driving while distracted

Common unsafe acts include driving in a truck’s blind spots, abruptly changing lanes, driving to the right of a truck making a right turn, merging into traffic in front of a truck too slowly, unsafe passing, failing to get a disabled vehicle completely onto the shoulder.

Problems with trucks

As for big rigs, some of the top causes of accidents with cars include misjudging braking distance, and distraction outside the vehicle. The FMCSA study found that some of the causes involved road conditions, vehicle maintenance, weather conditions and driver training.

Fatigue, alcohol and speed were listed as causes in the majority of crashes.

During the 33-month study period, there were about 120,000 accidents involving a semi that resulted in fatalities or injuries.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, you want the best medical attention, the best physical therapy and the best legal representation. Be sure to contact a local attorney to make sure your