A new study out of Kansas State University has determined that nearly three-quarters of fatal commercial trucking accidents in that state result from truck driver errors. Virginia and national statistics do not vary widely from those in Kansas. Truck drivers may be held accountable for these errors if they injure or kill another road user.

Driver Errors Cause Many Traffic Fatalities

The Kansas State researchers studied commercial truck accident data between 2004 and 2008 and found that there were nearly 19,000 commercial truck crashes in Kansas during those years. Sadly, more than 80 percent of these crashes were fatal to at least one occupant in the other vehicle. Nationally in 2009, commercial vehicles accounted for only three percent of all registered vehicles but were involved in 10 percent of traffic fatalities.

Unfortunately, preventable driver error accounted for nearly three-quarters of the fatal truck accidents studied. The most common error was not paying enough attention or giving enough time to the driving task. Other errors included failing to yield the right-of-way to passenger cars, speeding, following too closely to passenger vehicles and making improper lane changes.

The researchers found that most fatal truck accidents occurred during the day time in good weather, usually between noon and three p.m. Not surprisingly, more fatal truck accidents occur on roads with high-speed limits, like interstate highways.

Driver Error and Commercial Truck Accident Liability

Fortunately, truck drivers can be held responsible for their errors. Injured parties may collect compensation from truck drivers in a lawsuit if they can prove the driver's error, or negligence, caused the injuries. If the truck driver's negligence caused a loss of life, a wrongful death case may be filed by the family of the deceased. Negligence means that the driver did not take reasonable care when operating his or her truck and this lack of care caused the accident and subsequent injuries or death.

Examples of the kinds of damages injured parties may recover include medical costs, lost wages, compensation for pain and suffering and other emotional or financial losses.

Since commercial trucks are so much larger than passenger vehicles, accidents involving them often cause serious or fatal injuries in passenger car occupants. Truck drivers should always take reasonable care in driving to avoid causing a road tragedy. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a truck accident, please contact an experienced personal injury attorney to explore your legal options.