According to new data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System, driver-related factors like speeding, inattention and distracted driving were factors in at least one-third of all fatal truck accidents that occurred in 2010. In at least one third of these fatal accidents, the police accident report cited these factors as contributing to the crash.
That is extremely concerning because it seems to indicate that driver-related factors and poor driver behaviors continue to impact accident rates strongly.
In contrast, vehicle factors like lack of maintenance or shoddy repairs did not impact truck accident numbers heavily in 2010. Vehicle-related factors were only cited in about 4.2% of all fatal truck accidents in 2010. These factors included defective tires, defective lights and unsafe brakes.
In the case of passenger vehicle accidents, the statistics were slightly different. Driver error or driver factors seem to be a much bigger cause in passenger vehicle accidents than truck accidents. Nearly 2/3rd of all passenger vehicle drivers involved in fatal accidents in 2010 were cited for driver-related factors.
In the case of passenger vehicle accidents too, vehicle factors were not a huge contributing reason for accidents. Vehicle-related factors were cited in just about 3.1% of all fatal accidents involving passenger vehicles.
It’s not just driver-related factors and vehicle maintenance that are responsible for auto and truck accidents. There are a number of other factors, like blind spots in the driver’s field of vision that can increase accident risks. However, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration does not specifically consider these minor factors.
The statistics do seem to confirm a sobering fact – even with improved auto safety technologies and safer highways, driver error will continue to be a major contributing factor in auto and truck accidents.