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Large truck crashes: Causation and critical events

If you've been involved in a large truck crash, you need to know about several different terms. They include critical events and associated causes; both of these terms may show up in a police report or when you present your case to the court for compensation.

What causes large truck crashes?

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the most common reasons for large truck crashes include fatigue, drinking alcohol and speeding. These are not always present factors when an accident occurs, but it's more common to find that these habits have played a role.

What are critical events?

Critical events are things that the driver did or factors that directly led to an accident. For instance, if the driver falls asleep at the wheel and swerves into another lane, that would be a critical event that led to the accident. Another critical event could be losing control of the vehicle due to speeding or a sudden shift in cargo.

Critical reasons are the reasons those events occur. For example, the driver didn't get enough sleep, so he or she fell asleep behind the wheel and collided with other drivers on the road. Or, the driver didn't pack the cargo correctly, leading directly to the shift that made him or her lose control of his or her vehicle.

What are associated factors?

Some other factors may also influence the accident. For instance, the truck's brakes going out could influence the driver's ability to stop. Traveling too fast when the weather is poor is another example; the inclement weather is an associated factor. Over-the-counter drug use and unfamiliarity with the area where the driver is can also be associated factors and points you can use in your claim against the driver later.

Source: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, "The Large Truck Crash Causation Study - Analysis Brief," accessed June 28, 2016

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