How Common Are Semi Truck Accidents?
In 2012, almost 100,000 motorists incurred injuries as a result of collisions with semi trucks. Nearly 4,000 lost their lives. 333,000 large trucks were involved in traffic accidents. The rates of fatalities in accidents with large trucks have increased overall. In 2011, there were 3,781 fatalities from truck accidents, which increased four % to 3,921 in 2012. In Maryland, there were 704 total fatal crashes in 2012, and 8% involving large trucks. Maryland’s truck accident data is 1.5 % of the U.S. total of accident fatalities involving large trucks. While this may not seem like a large number of accidents, 81% of fatal trucking accidents involve multiple vehicles. This increases the injury and fatality rate per accident further.
Even more distressing, the majority of those injured are drivers or passengers of the other vehicle and not the truck. In 2012, 73% of fatalities were occupants of other vehicles, while only 18% were truck occupants. Similarly, 73% of those injured in trucking accidents are occupants of other vehicles. Passenger vehicles are smaller and lighter than semi trucks. Because of this, occupants of the other vehicle have significantly less protection from the heavier, larger trucks. Ultimately, they are more vulnerable to serious injuries or fatalities.
Common Causes of Fatalities
Several factors significantly contribute to the rate of semi truck accidents. For example, driver fatigue continues to be a major source of truck accidents. Despite trucking companies’ mandatory rest breaks and mileage limits for drivers, it remains a serious issue. Driver pay often finds basis on mileage and time spent on the road, which may incentivize drivers to continue driving past the point of safety.
Outside of drowsy driving, other common causes of truck accidents include driver error:For example, failure to adjust speed to winding roads or turns, failure to negotiate on or off ramps at an appropriate speed, and distracted driving (which consists of inattention to the road due to any other stimuli such as cell phones, audio devices, or even maps). Additional causes of accidents may occur without driver error, however.Tire blowouts, load shifting,, brake conditions, or subpar road surface conditions all contribute to safety concerns for truck drivers. Most of these events cause accidents by leading to sudden direction changes. These can then cause rollovers, unpredictable lane changes, or other erratic driving patterns that create dangerous situations.
On a positive note, studies conducted on the causes of truck accidents shows that despite being the top contributor to motor vehicle accidents in general, alcohol is not a major factor in trucking accidents. The percentage of truck drivers involved in fatal accidents with BAC levels of over .08 was only 2 % in 2012, compared to 23 % for passenger cars, 22 % for light trucks, and 27 % for motorcycles.
Did You or a Loved One Suffer Injuries?
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident with a semi truck, consult a personal injury attorney as soon as possible to help you determine your next steps. The experienced attorneys at the office of Alpert Schreyer, LLC will provide the representation you need, and fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Call us at 301-932-9997 today for a free case evaluation to discuss your case.