The Most Common Causes of Commercial Trucking Claims

Companies have a lot at stake when they send their employees out on the road in commercial vehicles – especially trucking companies. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports upwards of 400,000 crashes involving large commercial vehicles in the United States each year. For transportation companies, costly auto losses can hinder business growth, or even close down a company entirely. However, through partnering closely with an auto liability insurance broker who understands these risks, independent agents can ensure their trucking clients are better managing their transportation exposures.

Commercial drivers are generally considered to be above-average drivers due to their required certifications and experience being on the road, but that does not make them immune to mistakes – some of which have deadly consequences. According the most recent report on Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts from the FMCSA, 4,440 large trucks and buses were involved in fatal crashes – a 2% increase from 2015.

Commercial vehicle claims are typically the result of one of three main causes; vehicle breakdown, environmental factors or driver error. Of these causes, the FMCSA identified some of the most commonly cited crash-related factors in their Report to Congress on the Large Truck Crash Causation Study. Brake problems were cited as the number one cause overall at 29%, as well as the number one vehicle-related cause. Environmental factors categorized as “roadway problems” were associated with 20% of crashes, while weather was cited as a factor in 14%.

Of the top 20 factors in the study, 15 of them were caused by an action of the driver. Simply put, a driver is much more likely to be the cause of an accident than the conditions in which they’re traveling or the vehicle they’re driving. In the years that have passed since the FMCSA’s Large Truck Crash Causation Study was published, relevant data suggests that driver distraction, namely using a mobile device while driving, has become an even more significant factor in accidents.

Reducing Liability in Commercial Trucking

Over the past few years, manufacturers have been adding and improving safety features in commercial vehicles in order to reduce the amount of accidents and transportation departments have worked hard to make highways safer and more efficient for road travel. Still, the statistics on large truck and bus accidents have remained fairly alarming. Considering the top causes of these accidents, companies may want to focus some of their efforts on better driver training and clear policies and procedures. Some companies have also taken to using newer technology to help monitor driver behavior and reduce the likelihood of driver-caused accidents. In an industry with so many different exposures, employing multiple risk management strategies is the best way to help prevent accidents and protect a company’s bottom line.

About American Team Managers Insurance Services

Founded in 1998 by Chris C. Michaels, American Team Managers Insurance Services (ATM) has provided wholesale and MGA services to more than 5,000 independent insurance agents throughout the United States. Our goal is to establish close, long-term relationships with our agency partners and insurance carriers and provide competitive products for the Exclusive and Non-Exclusive markets that we serve. For more information on our products and services, give us a call at (714) 414-1200 to speak to a representative.