Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Common Causes and Statistics Behind Commercial Truck Accidents

It is no secret that Americans love to buy things. We are constantly buying new electronics, kitchen gadgets, clothes, new and trendy food items, and home goods. If it’s for sale, Americans are buying it. 

In addition to material goods, Americans are consuming other materials at a high rate as well. Gas, oil, timber, coal, and metals are just some of the things that Americans consume in one way or another on a daily basis. But how do all these trillions of pounds of goods get to where they’re going? How does a TV end up on the supercenters’ shelves? How do those grocery stores keep their shelves stocked so completely? 

The answer is commercial trucks, and lots of them.

Semi-trucks, commercial trucks, 18-wheelers, big rigs, whatever you call them, they are the dominate way goods are transported across the United States every day. And with so many good beings moved around, it only stands to reason that there are a lot of trucks on the road. 

Every year, 15 million commercial trucks are crisscrossing America as they transport nearly 70% of all U.S. goods. With so many trucks on the roads, accidents are bound to happen. Unfortunately, trucking accidents are among the most severe. That’s because the size and weight of these trucks creates accidents that tend to result in severe injuries or fatalities. 

Organizations like the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) are attempting to keep both truckers and non-truckers safe, but there is only so much they can do. Safety rules and regulations can be put in place, but they have to be followed to be effective. 

The most concerning part of this whole scenario is that truck accidents in the US have increased by 20% over the past decade. 

What is causing commercial truck accidents? 

There are many factors that contribute to truck accidents. Some of them are like those issues that cause passenger car vehicles; some of them are unique to the industry. Conditions like fatigue and drug abuse can be more common in the trucking industry because of the demand of the job. Truckers are often pressured to put in long hours on the road. This is exactly what FMCSA attempts to limit with their regulations. 

According to the FMCSA, the most common causes of truck accidents are:

Truck Accident Causes by Data

Driver fatigue is responsible for 13% of commercial truck accidents. In order to combat this, drivers are required by law to: restrict the number of hours that they can drive; record their driving and resting hours in a log book; and pull over if they sense any fatigue. So far, these regulations don’t seem to be helping, but perhaps over time these regulations will become second-nature. 

-Nearly 25% of all accidents involved a truck that was breaking the speed limit. Of course, everyone speeds now and then, but this is a large statistic. It is most likely that strict deadlines and tightening competition have incentivized drivers to pick up the speed. 

-18% of semi-truck accidents involved some type of prescription or over-the-counter drugs. This may be due in part to the pressures of staying awake or perhaps the nature of living life in near solitude. 

-25% of truck drivers involved in an accident were found to have drugs or alcohol in their system.

-Distracted driving causes 8% of commercial truck accidents. With the proliferation of smartphones and other electronics, that number is increasing. Since truckers spend most their time in the cab of their truck, it can be tempting to spend time as if they were not driving.

-Negligent driving is responsible for 7% of truck accidents. This mostly includes failing to obey traffic laws.

This is not to say that truckers are always responsible for accidents involving passengers and trucks. Often, passenger vehicle drivers make mistakes when driving near a truck that causes an accident. The most common causes of truck accidents by passenger vehicle drivers are:

  • Driving in the “no visibility zones". These are the areas behind and beside a semi-truck where the trucker cannot see the car. 
  • Abruptly changing lanes in front of a truck. 
  • Turning in front of a truck at an intersection. 
  • Attempting to pass a truck on the right side as they make a right turn.
  • Cutting off or merging too slowly in front of a truck. 
  • Passing a truck without allowing for enough clearance. 
  • Getting too close to a truck and succumbing to its turbulence. 
  • Driving unsafely or too close between two large trucks.
  • Stopping in front of a truck without giving it sufficient braking room. 

Have you been injured in a truck accident?

If you have been injured in an accident with a commercial truck or other commercial vehicle, contact an experienced truck accident attorney. Often, people make the mistake of assuming that truck accidents are just like passenger car accidents when they’re not. Truck accidents involve many distinct factors, like regulations and liable third parties, like the owner of the cargo. An attorney who has experience with truck accident cases will understand all these intricacies, allowing you to get the most out of your case. If you have questions or would like to consult with a Florida truck accident attorney, contact Dolman Law Group at 727-451-6900. 

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765
(727) 451-6900