Trucking Accidents are on the Rise
Truck transport is considered to be one of the cheapest and most suitable ways to deliver goods across the United States, with about 70% of all products reaching their destination via a type of truck. Although, with a plethora of careless drivers of such large trucks, accidents are bound and likely to happen. It is estimated that, by 2030, trucking accidents will become the fifth largest cause of death in the USA.
According to data from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), there have been a total of 4,102 casualties in multiple-vehicle crashes involving a truck. This number shows a significant 52% rise from the lowest point back in 2009.
Hence, it is advisable to get more information regarding the most common causes of accidents, the stats resulting from them, and the best ways to improve upon them for a safer driving environment overall.
Common causes of truck accidents
There is a common misconception that the majority of trucking accidents are caused by drug and alcohol abuse. According to information provided by the Large Truck Crash Causation Study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, (“FMCSA”) fatigue, new trucking routes and mechanical defects are the most common causes of truck crashes.
When evaluating the specific types of truck defects that cause accidents, the Large Truck Crash Causation Study found that issues with tires, wheels, and brakes seem to be the most common cause of accidents. Also, recent developments to the electronic systems in commercial trucks have resulted in dangerous mishaps such as defective steering wheels.
Furthermore, the weight of commercial trucks heightens the danger posed to passenger vehicles on the roadways. Commercial trucks weigh significantly more than passenger vehicles, especially when their cargo containers are at maximum capacity. Consequently, the weight of a commercial trucking vehicle often surpasses 40 tons, as opposed to your regular passenger vehicle that normally weighs about 2.5 tons. Consequently, commercial trucks take much longer to come to a full stop when compared to passenger vehicles.
Fatigue is a crucial factor to consider when determining the cause of trucking accidents. Truck drivers are under remarkable pressure to travel long distances in a short span of time. The number of miles to be driven often requires several days on the road at a time with drivers getting too few hours of sleep and even less quality sleep. As a result, drivers lose concentration and coordination and are slower to react to road situations, not to mention the dangerous possibility of actually falling asleep while driving.
There are laws and regulations for how many hours a trucker can drive in one shift, how much sleep is required, and when rest breaks must be taken. However, many companies don’t follow these rules and driver fatigue remains a big problem.
Further, aggressive driving has also been emphasized as a frequent cause, although it has had a direct effect in no more than 5% of the cases. In contrast, consider the fact that only 0.4% of crashes in the study were caused by illegal substance abuse, and 0.3% from alcohol consumption.
Where do truck accidents take place?
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (“IIHS”) report, 52% of all large truck-related accidents occurred on major roads. Similarly, 32% of trucking accidents occur on interstate highways and freeways, while only 15% of all large truck vehicle accidents occurred on minor roads.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, most truck accidents occur between noon and three in the afternoon. In 2014, up to 17% of all crashes during the day would take place between noon and three in the afternoon, with 622 fatalities. In 2017, up to 19% of all accidents occurred during the same time of the day with fatalities increasing to 759. This shows the consistency of large truck wrecks during that time of day over several years.
What should you do if you are involved in an accident with a commercial truck?
If you’ve been injured because of a collision with a commercial vehicle, chances are your accident was serious. In crashes involving semi-trucks, generally, the driver of the automobile is the one who is injured, and often the injuries are fatal.
The size disparity between commercial trucks when compared to passenger vehicles is significant. As a result, the injuries that result from accidents that occur between trucks and passenger vehicles are typically severe.
After you’re involved in an accident, take the following steps:
• Seek medical attention immediately
• Report the accident to the authorities
• Provide only the basic details about the accident
• Do not admit fault to the opposing party or authorities
• Promptly file a police report and obtain a copy
• Promptly file a claim with your insurance company
• Keep a detailed journal about your injuries
• Do not provide any recorded or written statement until you talk to a lawyer
Finally, reach out to TonaLaw for assistance as soon as you are able. We will guide you through every step of the process. The laws concerning trucking accidents may be complicated, but we can help.
Schedule a free, confidential, no-obligation case review when you call 833-866-2529 (833-TONA-LAW) or contact us online.