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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger II

When Trucks and Cars are in Crashes, Who Is Most Often at Fault?

Car & truck collisions happen all too often and can lead to serious or fatal injuries- especially for the passenger vehicle occupants- but who is more often at fault?

There is a great deal of stigma surrounding truck drivers, the trucking industry, and road accidents- and many people assume that truckers are to blame. By looking at the statistics, people can learn more about who is usually responsible when trucks and cars are in crashes. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can also answer questions such as What can you do to avoid rear-end truck accidents in Indiana?

Who Is Most Often at Fault in Car and Truck Accidents?

Who Is Most Often at Fault in Car and Truck Accidents?

According to statistics gathered recently by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the most critical reason for collisions between trucks and cars is related to the car 56% of the time. Other official statistics apply the blame to car drivers overall in 80% of collisions.

From this data, it is clear that crashes involving trucks and cars are more often caused by the car driver. That said, it is also the car drivers who are most likely to be seriously injured or killed in car and truck crashes. As many as 97% percent of truck accident fatalities come from passenger vehicles.

In summary, car drivers may be more likely to cause trucking accidents, but they are also more at risk of severe injuries. A semi accident lawyer in Indianapolis can help go over these statistics with you.

A Closer Look at Causation and Fault in Crashes Involving Trucks and Cars

Many variables contribute to fault in multiple-vehicle accidents, no matter what types of vehicles they include. With large trucks, there are even more things to consider since they bring a specific set of additional risks to the table.

Truck drivers and passenger vehicle drivers share most of the same responsibilities as far as recognition, decision-making, and performance behind the wheel go- but some things apply more to one than the other. Here are some leading causes of truck and car accidents from both sides.

When the Car Driver Is At Fault

The stats say that other vehicles cause more truck accidents, and here are some of the most common reasons why.

  • Cutting off truck drivers

Cutting in front of tractor-trailers and other large trucks or commercial vehicles is significantly more dangerous than doing it to another car. Car drivers may not realize the difference in reaction capabilities and the consequences of sudden stops on these heavy-duty vehicles- but they can be catastrophic.

Most trucks have a significant blind spot in front of them, so a car that suddenly cuts in can cause a serious risk. The truck driver may have to stop very quickly, compromising their cargo, causing rear-end crashes, or making the vehicle lose balance.

  • Driving in blind spots

Truck drivers do have a responsibility to check their blind spots as much as possible without creating another safety risk, but certain points are essentially invisible on large trucks. A car driver who is driving defensively and safely should know these blind spots and stay out of them whenever possible.

Driving in a truck's blind spot for extended periods is very dangerous and is a leading cause of truck accidents caused by car drivers.

  • Speeding and breaking other road rules

Large vehicles have a slower response to breaking and cannot make any maneuver as quickly or easily as a car can. A poor driving decision may not lead to an accident if only other cars are involved, but it could be catastrophic with a truck in the mix.

Exceeding the speed limit, running a stop sign or red light, distracted driving, changing lanes unsafely, tailgating, and other negligent driving have even greater potential for disaster if there is a heavy-duty truck using the road at the same time.

When the Truck Driver Is At Fault

When the Truck Driver Is At Fault

Many accident causes apply to any driver, but these are three of the things that are most commonly found as the fault when the truck driver is to blame for an accident.

  • Inattentive driving

Traffic safety is much easier to maintain when people are paying attention. One of the main reasons for truck drivers causing accidents is driving without proper care and focusing on the road conditions and the situations going on around them.

Fatigue, complacency, and failure to give proper thought to maneuvers and other road users are all factors that contribute to truck drivers causing crashes through inattention. Failure to properly pay attention to blind spots and leave enough space is also something that applies to truck drivers.

  • Losing control of the vehicle

It is not always a truck driver's fault if they lose control of their vehicle, but it often is. This comes down to performance behind the wheel and the person's failure to respond adequately as a professional driver.

An overreaction to a blown tire, a lack of control when responding to a threat from another driver, or a lack of care and control when road conditions are poor could all potentially leave a truck driver liable for damages. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can assist with questions like What can you do to avoid Truck Tire Blowouts in Indiana? Truck sideswipes and head-on crashes can happen when a large vehicle is out of control. Unfortunately, the car drivers and passengers in these situations often suffer significant- even fatal- harm.

  • Issues with the truck or its cargo

Sometimes, it falls to the trucking company instead of the driver if an accident is caused by problems relating to the vehicle or how it was loaded. Many crashes involving trucks happen because of spilled cargo- something that is often catastrophic- with widespread damage to more than one other driver.

In this case, fault depends on whether the driver is responsible for checking the vehicle and okaying the cargo or if the company they work for has the final say.


Crash data suggests that car drivers are more often at fault, but there is more to the picture. Witness statements, evidence at the accident scene, police reports, and more can help determine fault- as can the legal team at Schuerger Shunnarah. Contact these elite personal injury attorneys to arrange a free consultation for advice regarding truck/car collisions and liability in Indiana.


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