Truck accidents happen every day in this country. Unfortunately, many truck vs. car accidents on the nation’s roadways result in at least one fatality. (It’s usually not the truck driver who is killed in a collision.)
Smaller cars, smaller trucks, motorcycles, and pedestrians really don’t stand a chance when they collide with a several-ton semi truck barreling down the highway. 18-wheelers typically weigh 20-30 times as much as passenger cars and are taller with greater ground clearance, which can result in smaller vehicles going under the larger trucks in accidents.
Driver Error as Cause of Truck Accidents
While there are a number of causes of truck accidents in the United States, driver error on the part of the trucker is one of the most common. Whether the trucker is sleep deprived, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, inexperienced, or in a hurry to get to his destination, the accidents resulting from driver error can be devastating.
Truck drivers feel a lot of pressure to deliver their cargo on time or early, load up, and then get to their next destination. This pressure to perform often leads truckers to make poor decisions regarding how to get the most work done in the shortest amount of time. When the trucking company they work for makes unreasonable demands on its drivers, many drivers feel there’s no other way to get the job done than to avoid sleep, take amphetamines, find short cuts on truck maintenance, and falsify travel logs.
Truck Accident Statistics
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), 3,986 people died in large truck crashes in 2016 with only 17% of those deaths being truck drivers. Of the almost 4,000 people killed in truck accidents that year, 66% were occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles and 16% were pedestrians, bicyclists, or motorcyclists. The number of people who died in large truck crashes was 27% higher in 2016 than in 2009, when it was the lowest since the collection of fatal crash data began in 1975.
If people do survive a collision with an 18-wheeler, they may be left with catastrophic injuries that forever impact their life. Traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries are common in big truck accidents because of the sheer size of the truck and the force of impact with a smaller vehicle. It’s virtually impossible to escape a collision with a semi truck uninjured.
FMCSA Report on Truck Accident Causes
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has one mission: to reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities involving large trucks and buses. According to a recent report by the FMCSA, truck accidents are caused by a number of different things:
- 27% of trucks studied were found to have brake problems
- 19% of truck drivers were unfamiliar with the route they were assigned
- 10% of truck drivers felt “under pressure” on the job
- 22% of truckers said they were overly tired
- 5% of truckers admit to driving in an aggressive manner
- Less than 1% admitted to being under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs
If a small percentage of truckers are admitting to being unfamiliar with their route, over tired, under pressure, and altered by drugs or alcohol, just think about how many are working under those conditions but just not admitting it.
If you feel driver error contributed to your collision with a truck, please contact an experienced truck accident attorney in your area today to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation as you may be entitled to financial compensation for losses incurred as a result of the accident.