Truck accidents are among the most dangerous on the road. When a commercial truck weighing tens of thousands of pounds collides with a smaller passenger vehicle, the results can be deadly.
When we refer to truck accidents we are typically referring to those accidents involving a truck with a gross vehicular weight of 10,000 pounds or more. Nearly a half-million large trucks are involved in accidents annually — and one of every eight traffic deaths results from a collision with a large truck. According to recent statistics from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration:
- Over the 20 years from 1986 to 2006, there has been a 49-percent increase in registered large trucks and a 76-percent increase in miles traveled by large trucks.
- Over the same time period, the number of large trucks involved in fatal crashes has declined by 7 percent, and the vehicle involvement rate for large trucks in fatal crashes has declined by 47 percent.
- Over the 10 years from 1996 to 2006, there has been a 23-percent increase in registered large trucks and a 22-percent increase in miles traveled by large trucks.
- Of the 368,000 police-reported crashes involving large trucks in 2006, 4,321 (1 percent) resulted in at least one fatality, and 77,000 (21 percent) resulted in at least one nonfatal injury.
- Single-vehicle crashes made up 21 percent of all fatal crashes, 15 percent of all injury crashes, and 27 percent of all property damage only crashes involving large trucks.
- Just over three-fifths (62 percent) of all fatal crashes involving large trucks occurred on rural roads, and one-fourth (25 percent) occurred on Interstate highways.
- Thirty-four percent of all fatal crashes and 19 percent of all property damage only crashes involving large trucks occurred at night.
- The vast majority of fatal crashes (85 percent) and of nonfatal crashes (89 percent) involving large trucks occurred on weekdays (Monday through Friday).
- Collision with a vehicle in transport was the first harmful event in 76 percent of fatal crashes involving large trucks.
What Causes Truck Accidents?
Truck accidents are unique; large trucks are more difficult to maneuver and thus are more likely to overturn or “jackknife” following sudden turns or movement. Larger vehicles require more maintenance and careful adherence to load requirements. Truck drivers are often pressured to deliver a load quickly – and they may skip sleep in order to meet deadlines.
Some of the most common factors involved in these accidents include:
- Driver fatigue – Studies show that as many as 40% of truck accidents may be attributable to driver fatigue;
- Driver negligence;
- Distracted driving, including the use of cellphones and other electronic devices while behind the wheel;
- Tire blowouts;
- Improper loading;
- Sudden braking;
- Drug and alcohol use;
- Mechanical defects, such as a failure of the brakes, power train or steering system.
Truck Accident Law
There are federal regulations in place to govern the trucking industry, but truck accident claims are complicated and require an experienced attorney who understands how to deal with trucking companies and how to act quickly to preserve evidence vital to a case. Trucking companies have a limited legal obligation to maintain certain driver documents for specific periods of time, after which they may be destroyed. Experienced truck accident attorneys will know the law, the trucking companies and, most importantly, how to effectively prepare a case to obtain the maximum financial compensation for truck accident victims.
Truck Accident Lawyers
If you have been seriously hurt by someone else’s negligence, contact an experienced truck accident attorney today. You have only a limited time after your injury to file a claim, so you must act quickly.