It is common to read or hear about truck accidents causing severe injuries or deaths to motorists in other vehicles. We even see the evidence when we get caught in miles-long traffic snarls that last hours on the highways and interstates. Unfortunately, the number of truck-related crashes keeps going up.
By the numbers
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), truck crashes more than doubled between 2009 and 2019, going from 53,000 to 118,000. The number of fatalities tied to these crashes has also gone up 43% in ten years, for a total of 5005 fatalities in 2019. Moreover, while large trucks (over 10,000) account for 4% of the vehicles and 7% of the miles traveled by vehicles, they make 10% of all road fatalities.
Why are they so dangerous?
There are no recent comprehensive studies on the cause of truck-related crashes, but the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration did a three-year study issued to Congress in 2006. It still provides insights for the most common causes:
- Driver error
- Driving too fast
- Driving too fast for conditions
- Fatigue, illness, incapacitation and other driver non-performance problems
The injured and families can take action
The size differential between commercial trucks and personal vehicles is the cause for the severe nature of these collisions, killing and injuring victims in other cars at a far higher rate than the drivers in big rigs. The driver may be responsible, but it could be a situation where the employer did not properly maintain the vehicle or a manufacturer provided faulty equipment. Because they face so many severe crashes, trucking company attorneys will also try to shift blame to others to avoid paying large awards in court or negotiated settlements. Victims and their families often serve their best interests in getting help to deal with these life-changing and complex situations.