Trucks are an essential part of our transportation industry. Movement, transportation, and working of the demand and supply chain are largely made possible through trucks. The trucking industry contributes to the GDP and is essential to the United States economy. As a result, trucks are getting increasingly popular, and the number of truck accidents is also increasing.

According to the American Trucking Association, there are

  • 37.9 million trucks were registered and used for business purposes (excluding government and farm) in 2019, representing 23.9% of all trucks registered
  • 3.97 million class 8 trucks (including tractors and straight trucks) in operation in 2020, up 1.5% from 2019
  • 300.05 billion miles traveled by all registered trucks in 2019
  • 175.3 miles traveled by combination trucks in 2019

Truck accidents are less frequent than car accidents but often more severe. 

Truck Accident Statistics 

According to the Traffic Safety Facts 2019 prepared by the National Highway Safety Administration (NHSA)

  • Seventy-one percent of people killed in large-truck crashes in 2019 were occupants of other vehicles. 
  • Seventy-seven percent of the fatal crashes involving large trucks in 2019 occurred on weekdays (6 a.m. Monday to 5:59 p.m. Friday). 
  • Two percent of the drivers of large trucks involved in fatal crashes in 2019 had blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) of .08 grams per deciliter (g/dL) or higher, much lower than drivers of other vehicle types (29% for motorcycles, 20% for passenger cars, and 19% for light trucks). 
  • In 2019 drivers of large trucks in fatal crashes were less likely than drivers of passenger cars to have previous license suspensions or revocations. 
  • Large-truck drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2019 had a higher percentage (22.9%) of previously recorded crashes compared to drivers of other vehicle types (motorcycles, 22.0%; passenger cars, 18.9%; and light trucks, 17.8%).

Common Types of Trucks

  • Trailer 
  • Tractor 
  • Garbage trucks
  • Tank trucks (Water tanks, petrol tanks)
  • Fire trucks

Types of Truck Accidents

Jackknife Accident: When a truck jackknifes, it bends in half forming a 90-degree angle. Jackknives happen when a driver applies the brakes fast and forcefully. As a result, the trailer advances against the traction of the cab due to its weight.

Underride Accident: An underride happens when a truck applies its brake quickly and suddenly, smaller cars behind it, unfortunately, run under it. Underride accidents usually may lead to the instant death of motorists and passengers of smaller vehicles. 

Blind Spot (No man’s land): Blind spot accident happens when the truck driver who wants to change lanes cannot see oncoming vehicles. When a truck driver is not patient enough or miscalculates, they can put other motorists, particularly smaller cars, at risk of being hit, crushed, or thrown off the road.

Head-on and Rear end: A head-on accident happens when a truck collides with an object in front of it or if the object runs into it. A head-on accident can happen between a truck and smaller vehicles, a truck and another truck, or between a truck and a static object. 

A rear-end accident happens when the truck hits the rear end of another vehicle. 

Roll Over: A truck that is overloaded can lead to a rollover truck accident where the truck rolls over to its side. 

T-Bone Accident (Side Impact Truck Collision): A T-bone accident happens when a truck disobeys traffic rules by running a red light (or through other ways, for example, refusing to yield right of way) and hits another vehicle in a perpendicular position. This type of accident is particularly catastrophic for the passenger of the smaller vehicle who was at the side of the impact.

Lost Load Accident:  This will happen when cargo loaded on the truck is improperly loaded, leading to the cargo falling off the truck. As a result, the truck may lose balance, and the freight may fall onto the road to cause an obstacle or may even fall on another vehicle. 

Common Causes

Several reasons can cause truck accidents. Factors such as size, weight, and difficulty in maneuvering, among other risk factors, contribute to accident causes among trucks. Other factors like unfavorable weather conditions, such as rain and snow that can leave the road slippery, can contribute to a truck accident. When a truck driver disobeys the stipulated service hours and runs shifts longer than necessary, it may lead to fatigue and sleepiness while behind the steering wheel. Alcohol and other controlled substances can lead to truck accidents.

Truck Accidents can be used by

  • Bad weather conditions like heavy rainfall, snow
  • Mechanical problems like brake failure, weak tires
  • Over speeding: According to the NHSA, almost 20 percent of all large-truck drivers involved in fatal crashes had at least one prior speeding conviction, slightly higher than passenger car drivers (19.9% vs. 18.8%) involved in fatal crashes
  • Narrow or bad road
  • Driver fatigue
  • Loss of balance as a result of overloading or slippery road 
  • Poor maintenance of trucks 
  • Overloading
  • Careless and distracted driving
  • Aggressive driving 
  • Drunk driving

Common Injuries

 A truck accident is a serious accident. According to the study by NHSA in 2019, there were 5,005 people killed in crashes involving large trucks. This number was almost the same as in 2018 (5,006).

 Due to the largeness, an impact from such a heavy machine can leave the victim in a catastrophic situation. Truck drivers, manufacturing companies, the state, municipality, and other road users must devise all means necessary at their disposal to ensure those truck accidents are reduced to the minimum. Traffic lights and rules must not be disobeyed with impunity by anyone. Truck drivers must adhere to stipulated hours of service to avoid sleeping behind the wheel. 

Accidents due to another’s negligence or bad decision must be reduced. Here are some types of injuries that can occur in a truck accident. 

  • Death
  • Paralysis
  • Broken bones 
  • Permanent impairment 
  • Internal injury and bleeding
  • Fractures 
  • Cuts, burns and lacerations 
  • Brain injury
  • Permanent and temporary loss of memory 

Why Truck Accidents are Increasing

Truck accidents are increasing in the United States, while some states account for higher numbers. For example, Florida also has an increasing number of truck accidents. Even with the Covid-19 pandemic, where many people had to stay indoors, it put even more strain on the trucking industry to move the supply chain and deliver to end users. 

Many businesses begin online, and many people have embraced e-commerce stores. E-commerce stores like Amazon, Aliexpress, and even physical stores now have an online platform that supplies customers across the state. However, shipments and deliveries can only be possible through the help of the trucking industry. This has made truck use more institutionalized.  

Just ten states account for half of all fatal US truck accidents, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Critical reasons for high truck accident rates were identified in a study titled ‘Large Truck Crash Analysis for Freight Mobility and Safety Enhancement in Florida’ Prepared by the Freight and Multimodal Operations of the Florida Department of Transportation. The study pointed out these findings. 

  • Driving error was the primary reason, representing 92.3% of truck crashes and 95.6% for non-trucks. Non-trucks were more likely to be associated with driving errors than trucks across all crash types.
  •  Collisions with pedestrians, bicycles, and animals were the least likely to be associated with driving errors compared with other crash types, especially for trucks.
  • The next critical reason was vehicle defects and truck roadway conditions, representing 2.9% of the crashes. Relatively, non-trucks were less likely to be assigned to vehicle defects (0.8%) and roadway conditions (1.7%) than trucks. 
  • Vehicle defects for trucks were particularly significant for non-collision (15.3%) and collisions with another non-fixed object (16.9%), while roadway conditions were particularly critical for collisions with pedestrians, bicycles, and animals (16.9%).

What to do After a Truck Accident 

There are many reasons you should contact a truck accident attorney to help fight and win your case. Usually, truck companies have a team of attorneys, and you should also have your attorney. A truck accident lawyer can guide you. They will provide you with the support and knowledge of the law about your matter. A truck accident attorney can help you recover your medical bills and other financial compensation that you are deserving of. Your attorney will gather the facts necessary to establish a case on your behalf and provide you with adequate representation at every step.

Contact the Coleman Law Group to get a compassionate truck accident attorney.

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