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Motor carriers are supposed to train their drivers. That training should provide the appropriate skills and knowledge which would allow them to avoid preventable crashes— which they call “preventable accidents.”*

In the trucking industry, “preventable accidents” are crashes in which a truck driver or motor carrier failed to act in a reasonably expected manner to prevent it.

Preventable accident-rain-truck-crash-case_Washington

In this case, the truck driver – still in training – was driving far too fast for the rainy conditions.

“Preventable Accidents” in Defensive Driving Code

Many motor carriers use the National Safety Council criteria.

In order to avoid “preventable accidents“, truck drivers must adhere to the Defensive Driving Code.

Trucking accidents  crashes* have to be evaluated by this one question:

“Did the truck driver drive in such a way that he committed no errors himself,

and controlled his vehicle as to make due allowance for conditions of road, weather and traffic,

and to assure that mistakes of other drivers did not involve him in an accident?”

If a driver did not do everything reasonable to avoid it, then it is a “preventable accident.”

If a driver did everything reasonable he/she could do to prevent it, then it is a “non-preventable accident.”


Preventable accidents - car truck crash - Coluccio Law

The heart of any motor carrier safety program is the careful determination of those accidents crashes are preventable, and a program that teaches the necessary skills to avoid them.

The concept of “preventable accidents” is so important simply because of incredible damage and injuries caused by heavy trucks and trailers. That is why commercial motor vehicle drivers are—and should be— held to a high safety standard.

* The original post has been updated. Please note that almost all serious motor vehicle crashes are predictable and preventable: they are not “accidents.”

That is why we say “crash” instead of “accident” … and you should, too. 


For decades, the number of car crash fatalities has been declining.

Until now.


Why are truck, car crash deaths up for the first time in 50 years?