Large trucks travel every highway in America, transporting goods from coast to coast. While the economy and supply chain would come to a grinding halt without trucks, they can also be a dangerous presence on the road. Consider how truck accidents compare to car accidents and what causes commercial trucks to crash.
Truck Accident Statistics
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) released these findings from large truck accidents that occurred in 2019:
- 4,119 people died in large truck crashes, accounting for 11% of all motor vehicle crash deaths.
- In multi-vehicle crashes involving large trucks, 67% of the fatalities were passenger vehicle drivers, while 16% were truck drivers. Another 15% were motorcyclists, bicyclists, or pedestrians.
- 51% of large-truck crash fatalities occurred on major roads (excluding interstates and freeways); 34% occurred on interstates and freeways; and 15% occurred on minor roads.
What Causes Commercial Truck Accidents?
Sheer Equipment Size
Trucks weigh 20 to 30 times more than most passenger cars, and they sit much higher off the ground. A loaded tractor-trailer also takes 20% to 40% longer than a car to stop. In short, commercial trucks simply can’t make the same maneuvers as smaller vehicles, which can lead to collisions around town, especially at intersections.
Truck Driver Fatigue
Long hours behind the wheel can lead to truck driver fatigue, a known crash risk. Truck drivers must follow federal hours-of-service regulations, but this still allows them to drive for 11-hour stretches. Plus, surveys indicate that many drivers violate regulations to help them keep up with their deliveries.
The discrepancy between passenger vehicles and heavy trucks only increases when the road is wet or icy. High winds are also an issue for such high-profile vehicles. Even if truck drivers are careful and attentive, the elements may cause them to skid, hydroplane, or topple sideways, causing an accident in the process.
Poor Vehicle Maintenance
If a truck’s brakes are poorly maintained, they may fail when the driver attempts to stop. This can have catastrophic consequences, especially in the case of runaway trucks on steep mountain roads. Other issues such as cracked windshields, low fluid levels, and aging engine belts can spell disaster on the road for heavy trucks and the passenger vehicles around them.
Even if a trucking company diligently maintains its fleet, nothing can be done if the brakes, underride bars, load-securing features, or specialty tires fail prematurely. When this happens, the truck driver may lose control of the vehicle, potentially causing a collision. Determining fault in cases like this may be an important part of making your claim.
If you have been involved in a commercial truck accident, no matter the cause, turn to Childers and Associates. Our truck accident attorneys will protect your interests as you fight trucking companies for the compensation you deserve. Whether the fault lies with you, the truck driver, or a combination of factors, we can represent you. Call our Manassas, VA office today at (703) 330-6300 to request your free case review.