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Is a truck driver always responsible for a rear-end accident?

On Behalf of | Dec 29, 2023 | Trucking Defense

Some drivers believe that the rear vehicle is always to blame. If they get into an accident where a semi-truck rear-ends them at a red light, for instance, they will blame the truck driver. They may even consider suing the trucking company, perhaps claiming that the driver didn’t have proper training or was driving a vehicle that hadn’t been well maintained.

The rear driver is indeed responsible in many of these accidents, but certainly not all of them. This is especially an issue for truck drivers, as a common problem is when drivers cut them off at intersections, red lights or stop signs. The truck driver may not be able to avoid the rear-end collision, despite not having made any mistakes themselves.

Stopping distances

The reason for this is that trucks have long stopping distances. Most people could bring their car to a halt in around 300 feet if they needed to. But it could be over 500 feet for a truck driver.

This means that semi-truck drivers often start braking well in advance of an intersection. They know that they need the extra space to slow down in time. 

But other drivers will see that space and change lanes, cutting off the truck. They will then bring their car to a halt in time, but the truck driver is completely out of space. Even if the driver puts the brake pedal all the way to the floor, he or she may not be able to halt the truck before it strikes the other vehicle.

These situations can get very complicated, as drivers may disagree on where the fault lies. Trucking companies and drivers need to understand all of the defense options at their disposal.