How Many Truck Accidents Happen Annually?


July 12, 2019 / Truck Accidents

Big rigs are an essential component of the U.S. economy, transporting goods and parts that consumers need. The trucking industry is regulated by a government agency called the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA), whose job it is to prevent injuries and accidents through safety regulations, technological advancements, and other measures.

Carriers and individual drivers are required by law to adhere to FMSCA regulations. When they fail to do so, they put everyone on the road in danger and may be held legally responsible.

How many truck accidents happen annually — including non-fatal crashes? About 500,000. If you or a family member has been hurt in a collision involving a commercial truck, call the Indianapolis truck accident lawyers at Stephenson Rife. They have a thorough knowledge of industry regulations, how to uncover wrongdoing, and how to win their clients the full compensation they deserve.

How Many Truck Accidents Happen Annually?

When an 80,000-pound tractor-trailer collides with a 4,000-pound passenger car, it’s common sense to assume that the occupants of the smaller vehicle are most vulnerable. And the statistics bear this out. In 2017, According to data from the U.S. Department of Transportation Fatality Analysis Reporting System:

  • Of the 4,102 people who died in crashes involving large trucks, 17% were truck occupants, 68% were in a car or other passenger vehicle, and 14% were motorcyclists, bicyclists, or pedestrians.
  • In two-vehicle collisions between a car and a commercial truck, 97% of the fatalities were occupants of the car.
  • Large truck crashes were responsible for 11% of all motor vehicle accident deaths.
  • Of all fatal truck accidents, 74% involved tractor-trailers and 25% involved single-unit trucks.
  • Fifty-two percent of fatal truck crashes happened on major roads other than interstates and freeways, 32% on interstates and freeways, and 15% on small roads.

What Are Common Truck Accident Causes?

Driver Error

Truckers are under pressure to deliver their cargo within a certain time frame. And, let’s face it: life on the road is lonely. Who wouldn’t want to get home to their family as soon as possible? It may be tempting for drivers to skirt FMSCA’s hours-of-service rules and drive for extended periods without the required breaks. And this increases the likelihood of drowsiness, slow response times, and accidents.

As the industry faces a shortage of over 60,000 drivers, the government is advancing initiatives to lower the minimum driving age for interstate truckers from 21 to 18. This raises the question of whether an influx of younger drivers will increase driver-error accidents.

Vehicle Maintenance Problems

Trucks drive long distances in short periods of time and carry heavy loads. This puts an enormous amount of wear and tear on the vehicle. If trucking operators fail to properly maintain their fleet or a driver fails to check his rig before setting off, parts may fail and an accident may occur.

Poorly Secured Cargo

According to federal law, commercial vehicles traveling on interstate highways cannot weigh more than 80,000 pounds. The government also has very specific regulations on how particular types of cargo must be tied down. If freight is not properly secured, it can fly off and hit other vehicles.

Have you been injured in a truck accident? Call truck accident lawyer, Mike Stephenson of Stephenson Rife to discuss your case and legal options.

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