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The sheer size and weight of commercial trucks make truck collisions some of the most deadly types of motor vehicle accidents. The potential danger posed by 18-wheeler accidents has led the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to track such crashes and rate carriers’ safety performances. Now, those in the trucking industry are advocating for changes to this system. The FMCSA tracks truck accidents as part of its Compliance Safety Accountability (CSA) program. Under the program, part of a carrier’s safety rating is based on the number of crashes its trucks are involved in, regardless of whether its truck drivers are at fault for the accidents. The agency maintains that such crash data, with or without fault, is a reliable predictor of a carrier’s future safety performance.

Approaches to Determining Truck Accident Fault

Some of those in the trucking industry, including the America Trucking Associations (ATA), want the FMCSA to change its system for measuring crash data and place emphasis on which driver is at fault for a wreck. The FMCSA has been considering this approach, and conducted a study to see if it would be feasible to use police reports to determine fault in truck accidents. Since the study was completed, the ATA has repeatedly requested that the FMCSA release the results. “To live up to its goal to be open and transparent, FMCSA should release the results of the study, identify the specific concerns that caused it to place the planned solution on hold, and commit to a timeline for addressing the issue,” explained the ATA President. The FMCSA has refused, saying the findings were preliminary and require further review. In the meantime, the carrier safety rating system has remained in place and unchanged.

The Causes of Truck Accidents

Although 18-wheeler accidents may sometimes be caused by the drivers of passenger vehicles, often the truck driver is at fault. A variety of factors may contribute to a truck driver causing an accident, including: driver fatigue, substance abuse, speeding, distracted driving, overloaded tractor-trailers and disrepair of tractor-trailers. If you or a loved one has been involved in an 18-wheeler accident caused by a negligent truck driver, contact an experienced personal injury attorney. A New York City personal injury lawyer can investigate your case, advocate on your behalf and help ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.