Commercial trucks are the largest vehicles on roadways, and people who are involved in crashes involving commercial trucks frequently suffer catastrophic injuries that require lengthy hospitalization. Certain areas are especially hazardous for heavy trucks and passenger vehicles, so it can be beneficial to know how accidents happen, the most dangerous places to drive, and the most dangerous times to be on the road.
Commercial truck accidents are often far more complicated than crashes involving only passenger vehicles, because it is possible that multiple parties could share liability for a victim’s injuries—depending on the cause of the accident. It is always in a victim’s best interest to retain legal counsel at Spiva Law Firm as soon as possible if they suffer serious injuries or a loved one is killed in an 18-wheeler wreck.
Truck Accident Injury Lawyers: Truck Accidents By the Numbers
Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts (LTBCF) is an annual report from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). It includes statistics about fatal, injury, and property-damage-only crashes involving large trucks and buses.
According to the 2016 LTBCF (the most recent year available), 4,440 large trucks and buses were involved in fatal crashes in 2016. The figure marked a 2 percent increase from 2015, and large truck and bus fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled by all motor vehicles during increased by 1.9 percent from 2015 to 2016, from 0.141 to 0.144.
The same report also stated that the number of large trucks, specifically, involved in fatal crashes increased by 3 percent over that same year, from 4,074 to 4,213. The LTBCY also reported there were an estimated 119,000 injury crashes in 2016, an increase from the 97,000 reported in 2015.
Top Causes of Truck Accidents: Truck Accident Injury Attorneys
One of the primary reasons it is so important for a truck accident victim to immediately contact a personal injury attorney is that it is critical to launch an independent investigation of the crash as soon as possible. Even when it appears that a truck driver was clearly at fault for an accident, numerous variables may have impacted their ability to operate the truck safely and the trucking company — or other parties — could be liable for the victim’s injuries.
Commercial truck crashes can often involve one or more of the following common causes:
- Driver Fatigue — Also referred to by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as drowsy driving, a fatigued driver is a person who is at heightened risk of falling asleep behind the wheel. Truck drivers often spend very long hours on the road, and FMCSA places strict limits on driving times that also takes into account the number of days and hours a driver is off duty
- Defective Parts — When a commercial truck crash is the result of some mechanical part failure, the possible liability will depend on what caused the defect. If a part malfunctioned because of improper installation, the maintenance company could be responsible. If a part was defective because of a design or manufacturing error, then the manufacturer could be liable for damages.
- Distracted Driving — Truck drivers are as susceptible to the distractions of cell phone usage as anybody else. Any one of a number of other distractions could potentially take a driver’s eyes or attention off the road though, as truck drivers may be distracted by radio communication devices or Global Positioning System (GPS) devices.
- Driving Under the Influence (DUI) of Drugs or Alcohol — Drunk or drugged driving is illegal for all drivers, but operators of commercial vehicles are held to an even higher standard for intoxication. Instead of the 0.08 percent blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit that applies to most adult drivers, a commercial driver can be arrested for a DUI offense if they have a BAC of 0.04.
- Failure to Maintain Vehicle — If the company that owns a commercial truck does not properly care for the vehicle, it becomes a risk to all other drivers on the road. Many accidents are the result of a truck owner’s failure to have necessary repairs performed or replace specific parts.
- Traffic Violations — A truck driver might go through a red light. Some could ignore traffic signs. It is not uncommon for a truck driver who causes a crash to be cited for reckless driving. Any traffic citation a truck driver is issued relating to the accident can be used to demonstrate their negligence in court.
- Overloaded or Improperly Loaded Truck — A different company may have been responsible for the loading of cargo on a commercial vehicle, and failure to properly secure cargo or improperly placing or overfilling the truck can result in the driver losing control of the vehicle.
- Other Drivers — Truck drivers may be unable to avoid collisions because of the actions of another motorist. In these cases, the driver responsible might be liable for harm caused to the victims in the crash.
Dangerous Places and Times to Drive: Truck Accident Injury Lawyer
According to a Business Insider analysis of NHTSA truck accident data, the five states with the highest percentages of truck driver fatalities were North Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Alabama. Texas and Colorado were not far behind.
Most people see commercial trucks on the busier highways in their towns, but commercial vehicles do have to pass through other smaller thoroughfares on occasion during their journeys. For many years, the proportion of motor vehicle crashes was much higher in rural areas, but the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reported that the percentage declined to 51 percent in 2016.
According to IIHS time of day statistics, 48 percent of large truck crash deaths occurred between the hours of 6 a.m. and 3 p.m. The period between 9 a.m. and noon saw 668 deaths while 667 occurred between noon and 3 p.m. – both figures more than double the 303 fatalities that occurred between 9 p.m. and midnight. Crashes between midnight and 3 a.m. resulted in 362 deaths.
How a Truck Accident Injury Lawyer Can Help
If you are severely injured or if a loved one was killed in a commercial truck crash in Georgia, you should contact the Savannah truck accident lawyers at Spiva Law Group immediately. Our firm has a thorough understanding of federal and state commercial trucking regulations, so we will make sure that every negligent party is held accountable.
By working with an experienced personal injury lawyer, you will have legal representation for all negotiations relating to your damages. The Spiva Law Group can work to get you a fair and full settlement, and our firm will not be afraid to file suit should an insurance company be unwilling to provide fair compensation to you.