Truck Accident May Lead To Disastrous Injuries, Death
Truck Accidents involving trucks are exceptionally traumatic given trucks’ larger size and typically heavier and, often, dangerous loads. Accidents that involve trucks lead to hundreds of deaths every year.
The United States agencies responsible for tracking and reporting on truck driving statistics fall under the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).
These include the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and the Federal Highway Administration. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety
Administration data for 2015:
The Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) provides statistics from 1975, which is the first year FARS data we available. Information is available through 2015 as of June 2017; however, “in some cases, such as for alcohol involvement, data are available only from 1981 or 1982 through 2015. Nonfatal crash statistics are presented for 1995 through 2015.”
Following is a summary of some of the trend information involving truck accidents:
- In 2015, a total of 4,311 large trucks and buses were involved in fatal crashes, which is an eight percent increase from 2014. The number of large trucks and buses in fatal crashes increased by 26 percent from its low of 3,432 in 2009. The 2015 figures are 18 percent lower than the 21st-century high of 5,231 in 2005; however, from 2014 to 2015, large truck and bus fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled by all motor vehicles increased by 1.7 percent.
- From 2005 to 2009, there was a 34-percent decrease in the number of fatal crashes involving large trucks or buses. This was followed by an increase of 20 percent between 2009 and 2015 and an increase of five percent from 2014 to 2015.
- The number of injury crashes involving large trucks or buses decreased steadily from 2005 through 2009; however, the decline was followed by an increase of 62 percent from 2009 to 2015.
- From 2014 to 2015, the number of large trucks involved in fatal crashes increased by eight percent and the large truck involvement rate—large trucks involved in fatal crashes per 100 million miles traveled by large trucks—went up by eight percent.
- From 2014 to 2015, vehicle miles traveled by large trucks increased by 0.3 percent.
Why Truck Crashes Are Different From Car Accidents
Trucks are considerably larger than other vehicles on the road and generally weigh more than 30 times more than a passenger vehicle. Given their massive size, trucks are also associated with mounting fatal accidents. When loaded to full capacity, a truck may weigh up to a massive 40 tons. Because of this, smaller vehicle passengers are likelier to die in an accident involving a large truck.
Big rigs, according to the DOT, require more stopping distance, especially when loaded, which calls for sufficient time to react when slowing down to avoid a crash. Weight and stopping distance are two issues that passenger vehicles should be aware of at all times.
A truck’s size alone creates maneuvering challenges that may place other vehicles at risk for serious injury and death on the road. When a truck is involved in a crash, significant damage typically occurs. In fact, the NHTSA notes that, most large truck accidents—88 percent—are associated with the truck driver’s behavior or actions. When accidents involving trucks are due to truck driver negligence and people are injured or died, the driver and the driver’s trucking company may be found liable.
Truck Driver Drowsiness
Truck driver drowsiness is key factor that may increase risk of accidents taking place. Businesses depend on trucks for ongoing, timely delivery of goods. This means that truck drivers are typically driving long hours with minimal rest, a long known and unfortunate fact. Some trucking companies may intentionally use deceptive and intimidating tactics to maintain financial goals.
Truck driver fatigue accounts for a huge amount of all commercial truck accidents and is likely tied to longer working hours and demanding deadlines and schedules. Truck drivers often must maintain these schedules despite that schedules are tied to impaired judgment and increased risks for catastrophic crashes.
Fatigue is a combination of exhaustion, sleep deprivation, and significant tiredness and all three may be involved when a commercial truck driver is on the road; fatigue may impact the driver’s ability to determine his or her own fatigue.
The federal government changed truck driver regulations and duty hours after approximately 60 years. It is now illegal for truck drivers to drive a commercial truck for more than 11 straight hours without taking a 10-hour break between two consecutive shifts. Individuals operating commercial trucks are not allowed to work more than 14 hours and 11 of these hours may be spent driving.
In any seven-day time frame, a driver is not permitted to drive more than 60-to-77 hours—up to 70-to-88 hours in a consecutive eight-day period. If a truck driver takes off from work for two and one-half days, that driver is able to begin a new workweek at zero hours.
Despite these mandates, complete trucking company and driver compliance has not been consistently achieved, which includes mandatory maintenance of a logbook of driving hours by commercial truck drivers. Because these logs may be falsified, they are not always a valid measure of how many hours a truck driver spends driving.
These documents do contain third-party time stamps and a review of trip tickets and bills of lading from a truck driver’s deliveries in the days prior to a crash that may offer a more precise view of the actual road hours.
Truck Accident Injuries
Injured victims of truck accidents may never be able to work again. Should the significant injury or death of a family’s main source of income occur, that family is often left without an important means of financial and familial support. The innocent victims of trucking accidents should not have to be concerned with money while they work to heal their physical and emotional wounds. Parker Waichman’s truck accident lawyers are committed to making sure the financial needs of these victims are met.
Truck accidents may lead to horrific, often deadly, injuries that may include brain and spinal cord injuries, neck injuries, sprains, fractures, abrasions, internal and soft tissue injuries, lacerations, amputations, burn injuries, crush injuries, and death. Survivors and their families may face massive medical bills, severe financial issues, and legal complexities and are often too disabled to return to work.
Trucking companies know this and employ an array of their own attorneys who may easily take advantage of victims’ fragile physical and psychological states. The truck accident attorneys at Parker Waichman understand how these terrible accidents may devastate families and ruin lives and are fully committed to help our clients focus on rebuilding their lives, careers, and losses. Parker Waichman will also be able to steer victims away from truck company attorneys whose purpose is to ensure injured survivors accept low-ball or no settlements.
If You Have Been Injured in a Truck Accident
If you, or someone you know, have been injured in a truck accident, be sure to speak with one of the experienced personal injury truck accident attorneys at Parker Waichman who will help you understand your rights and provide a free consultation.
Please complete the contact form on the right or call us at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529) for a free case evaluation.