AAA Study Finds Driver Error Causes a Majority of Crashes Between Cars and Heavy-Duty Trucks
More than half of all fatal crashes involving a car and a heavy-duty truck are caused by driver error, and most of those are by drivers of the cars, according to a study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
"Driving around a big truck is different from driving near a passenger car, but many motorists don't change their behavior to adjust for the difference," AAA said.
Most motorists don't recognize that trucks act differently on the road than cars do, said AAA Foundation Chief Executive Officer J. Peter Kissinger, "so they think trucks can stop on a dime and change lanes quickly."
The AAA study found that occupants of cars account for 98 percent of all fatalities in truck-car crashes.
"These tragedies are completely preventable," Kissinger said. "When car drivers understand how trucks are different, they can make allowances for the big rigs' limitations. By adjusting their driving style, motorists can safely and confidently share the road with large vehicles."
To prevent these car-truck crashes, Kissinger offered the following list of suggestions:
- Never change lanes abruptly around a truck.
- Slow down to let trucks have the right of way.
- Drive at a safe speed.
- Stay alert to traffic signals and road conditions.
- Use turn signals.
- Avoid driving alongside or immediately behind a truck.
- Never cut in front of a truck, especially when it may need to stop.
In conjunction with the release of the study, AAA is re-launching its "Share with Care" program, which is aimed at giving motorists and truck drivers practical advice about avoiding crashes.
More than 5,000 people are killed and 140,000 injured each year in crashes involving a car and a heavy truck, AAA said.