Truck Accident Statistics That are Concerning
Truck drivers are tasked with carrying precious cargo for thousands of miles on trips that take days to complete. Of course, there are laws set in place that prevent drivers from driving too far, causing driver exhaustion, but these laws are often ignored in the name of quick work.
As a result of this habit (and many other dangerous habits amongst trucking companies), injuries and fatalities can occur because of semi truck accidents.
In 2019 there were 4,119 fatalities because of large truck accident crashes. 67% of those deaths were occupants of cars or other smaller vehicles while 15% were pedestrians, motorcyclists, or bicyclists. The remaining 16% were commercial truck occupants.
Most commercial truck accidents occur on major roads (not interstates or freeways), at 52%, while 32% occur on interstates and freeways and 15% occur on minor roads.
When it comes to time frame, the largest percentage (17%) of accidents occurred between noon and 3 pm in 2019. Following shortly behind that time frame are:
- 9 am to noon: 16%
- 3 pm to 6 pm: 15%
- 6 am to 9 am: 15%
This means that a large majority of accidents take place between 6 am and 6 pm, over 60%. When compared to car accidents, this is a huge difference, as most car accidents occur later in the evening.
In 2018 in Florida there were 321 fatalities because of accidents involving large commercial trucks. However, when compared to the countries standard, more Florida truck accidents occurred in rural accidents than anywhere else, at 61%.
Why Truck Accidents are More Dangerous Than Car Accidents
Truck accidents are more likely to cause severe, life-threatening injuries because of their size. They are much heavier and the impact that occurs when they strike a smaller vehicle can be devastating.
Commercial vehicle accidents are more likely to cause life-changing injuries such as:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Neck injuries
- Chest trauma
- Internal bleeding
- Soft tissue damage
While these injuries are common amongst car accidents as well, truck accidents are more likely to cause them because of the sheer force a large commercial vehicle can strike smaller vehicles with. Commercial trucks may also carry hazardous materials, causing fires and explosions.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Causes of truck accidents are more complex than causes of car accidents because of the number of people that can be liable for a truck accident. With car accidents, the liable party is almost always another driver. With truck accidents, it could be various parties, including:
- Truck drivers
- Trucking company
- Loading team
- Truck owner
Distracted driving is one of the most dangerous habits a driver can have, amongst all types of drivers. Cell phones are not the only distraction that may be present when driving, drinking, eating, fixing a mirror, grabbing something off the floor, or watching something happen roadside can all take one’s eyes off the road—putting them at risk for causing an accident.
Research shows that commercial truck drivers who use their phones while operating their vehicles are four times more likely to be involved in a crash. Large trucks are much harder to slow down, so if a driver is distracted, they might not be able to slam on the breaks to avoid an accident.
Truck drivers are required to drive long hours each day to accomplish their routes. They follow a schedule set out by the trucking company they work for. However, some companies will ignore federal regulations and convince their drivers to drive over the legal limits or without taking proper breaks.
Driving past already long hours can cause drivers to become fatigued and exhausted. Fatigue can cause a lowered response time, risk of falling asleep at the wheel, lowered critical thinking, and more.
Many drivers have tricks that they use to keep themselves awake behind the wheel, and while they may be effective in keeping the driver from falling asleep, they don’t keep the driver from being fatigued. They still lack critical thinking, response time, and their best driving ability.
Truck driving is a dangerous career option that requires a lot of training. However, the field attracts many new drivers because of a shortage of experienced drivers. Aggressive recruiting tactics bring in swarms of new drivers, none of which have enough experience to rightfully get behind the wheel of a truck—but they do anyways.
Without proper training, drivers lack the skills required to operate these huge, dangerous vehicles. They get out on the road without knowing what to do or how to prevent an accident from occurring.
While they may be licensed, they don’t have the years of experience that other drivers have. Those years build up defensive driving skills that are vital for truck driving.
Drug Use Among Truckers
Unfortunately, drug abuse is common amongst truckers. Many use it as a way to keep themselves from feeling fatigued, but it has other negative consequences. Drugs like cocaine, amphetamines, and marijuana are all common amongst truckers, as is alcohol.
Using drugs or drinking alcohol while (or before) driving can cause a lack of awareness, poor decision-making ability, distraction, and many other issues for drivers.
What to do if You’re Injured by a Negligent Driver
If you’re injured by a negligent commercial truck driver, the first thing you should do is contact the police to get a police report started. While you’re waiting for the police to arrive, you should collect your own evidence, including:
- Pictures of the scene, your vehicle, the commercial truck, and your injuries
- The truck drivers information and the information of the company they work for
- Contact information of anyone who may have witnessed the accident
- The names of any nearby businesses that may have caught the accident on camera
After gathering your own evidence and speaking with the investigating police officer, you should head directly to a hospital, doctor, or emergency room for a medical evaluation.
If you choose not to receive immediate medical attention, the at-fault party’s insurance company may try to hold this against you.
Before you speak with your own insurance company, you should contact a talented truck accident attorney to represent your case. If you speak with insurance companies before hiring an attorney, they may try to get you to settle early and for as little as possible. A talented attorney can get you the high settlement that you deserve.
Contact The Eberst Law Firm to Represent Your Truck Accident Injury Claim
If you or someone that you love has been injured in a commercial truck accident, please contact our experienced attorneys here at The Eberst Law Firm. We’re ready to help you get the compensation that you deserve for your damages.
For more information, please contact us online by using our chat box option or by calling us at 352-269-0017.