Freight is a major part of the U.S. economy, and much of that freight is hauled across states by truck. Unfortunately, that also means an increase in accidents. If dangerous driving conditions are present, drivers have not maintained vehicles, or do not follow safety practices, accidents are likely. These factors are present in recent governmental agency studies. According to recent data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), fatalities involving truck accidents appear to be on the rise.
Statistics About Large Truck Accident Fatalities
According to statistics from the NHTSA released in January 2019 that looked at accident data from 2017, 82% of fatal crashes involving large trucks were multiple-vehicle crashes, compared with 62% for fatal crashes involving passenger vehicles.
In 2017, large trucks were more likely to be involved in fatal multiple-vehicle crashes, as opposed to fatal single-vehicle crashes, than were passenger vehicles.
Many of these accidents involve violent crashes that gained national attention. For instance, in April 2019, one trucking accident in Colorado led to a multi-car crash with fatalities when a semi-truck plowed into standstill traffic.
The accident involved 4 semis and 24 cars, and at least 4 people died as a result. The driver is being held on 4 counts of vehicular homicide. Video from the accident showed some of the vehicles catching fire. This footage leads people to wonder what, if any, problems the driver was encountering with his equipment or if he simply was not paying attention. (The matter is still being investigated at the time of this writing.)
Regions with Higher Truck Accidents
The NHTSA data found that some regions of the country have a higher instance of truck accidents than others. Data showed that the West North Central and West South Central portions of the country had the highest recurrence of accidents, whereas accidents in the Eastern and Western portions occurred less often.
Of the data reviewed from 2017, Texas had the highest number of large trucks involved in fatal crashes at 621, and the largest number of total vehicles involved in fatal crashes. Accidents in that state accounted for 11.8% of the total for all types of vehicles involved in accidents nationwide.
Missouri Truck Accident Statistics
Missouri is a state with quite a number of the percentage of fatal truck accidents in 2017, with 8.5% of total accidents for all types of vehicles in the nation. However, the state made up about 2.4% of accidents involving trucks, the meaning of the accidents in the United States in 2017 involving trucks, just over 2% occurred in Missouri.
That being said, Missouri was one of 11 states that had more than 100 occupants of other vehicles killed in large truck crashes. This indicates that for this period, accidents in Missouri that had fatalities involving large trucks often involved a larger number of occupants in the vehicles than most other states.
Reasons for an Increase in Fatal Truck Accidents
There are many reasons that fatalities as a result of truck accidents may be increasing. For one, the laws regulating the amount of time truck drivers should be resting are not always honored, meaning commercial truck drivers may be fatigued behind the wheel. This fatigue and lack of attentiveness may contribute to an increase in truck accidents because the drivers are sleepy or even asleep while driving, allowing cruise control to do the work.
Moreover, truck drivers may be pushing the limits of their equipment. According to one NHTSA report, tire blowouts are an increasing cause of accidents and may be occurring because trucks can sustain speeds of up to 75 miles per hour. However, due to the nature of work and speed being of the essence, trucks may be exceeding the speed limit, leading to more tire blowouts.
While the NHTSA fact sheet does not list ways that truck drivers can be safer on the roads, following basic rules about truck driving safety should always be followed. You should avoid doing the following while driving to be a safer driver:
- Avoid adjusting controls within the vehicle while in motion
- Avoid eating or drinking while driving
- Avoid distractions such as loud music, texting, or taking calls while driving
- Avoid driving if sleepy, drowsy, or on medication that would impact your attentiveness behind the wheel
“As the economy improves nationwide, an increase in spending directly relates to an increase in shipping. That means more trucks are on the road, typically driven by inexperienced and quickly trained truck drivers. That puts us all at risk. If you or a family member are involved in a collision with a semi, we will work tirelessly to find the root cause of why the collision occurred, determine what can be done to stop it from happening again, and build a strong case in order to recover the maximum amount of compensation for your injuries,” attorney Erica B. Slater of The Simon Law Firm said.
Contact a Trucking Accident Attorney at The Simon Law Firm
If you or a loved one has been injured in a trucking accident, or your loved one died as a result of a trucking accident, contact our personal injury attorneys immediately to discuss your case.