Statistics are facts and figures that help us establish trends, verify ideas, and reveals information that may not have been expected. Knowing different statistics can also help you change laws, prevent accidents, and save lives.
Understanding trucking accident statistics is the first step in making the roads safer for all vehicles. Trucking accidents are often catastrophic for those in the smaller passenger vehicle. Finding ways to prevent trucking accidents should always begin by trying to understand how they are caused. Also see Truck Accident FAQ
A Brief Look At The Trucking Industry
According to the National Highway Safety Administration (NHSA), there are over 15.5 million commercial trucks registered to operate on our highways. Of these, 11 million are semi-trucks. The NHSA also states that at any time of the day, there are at least 3 million tractor-trailers operating on the roads.
The trucking industry is responsible for moving the majority of the consumer goods we use every day across our nation. However, the vast distances that these drivers must cover in various weather and traffic make this a dangerous job for the drivers. Tight deadlines and fatigue can make operating one of these vehicles much harder, leading to serious accidents.
Contributing Factors to Tucking Accidents
The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has related data showing that alcohol and illegal drug use are some of the most common contributing factors in passenger vehicle accidents. However, these two substances are among the least contributing factors to trucking accidents. The most common contributors to a trucking accident include:
- Prescription Drug Use – 26 percent
- Driving too Fast for Weather or Traffic Conditions – 23 percent
- Over-the-Counter Drug Use – 17 percent
- Fatigue – 13 percent
- Illegal Drug or Alcohol Use – 3 percent
The remaining 18 percent is attributed to various reasons ranging from medical emergencies to equipment failure.
Truck Accident Fatalities
The size and weight of a semi-truck, up to 80,000 pounds and up to 53 feet in length, gives the truck significant impact force when involved in an accident. Sadly, this generally means that the passengers in the smaller vehicle will succumb to serious, if not fatal, injuries.
The USDOT has released the following statistics regarding trucking accident fatalities. The information is from 2013, the most available data at this time.
- There were 327,000 accidents reported involving semi-trucks in 2013. Of those, about 10 percent or 3,541 accidents reported at least one fatality.
- Trucking accident involving fatalities occurred more often on rural or side roads than on interstates. 64 percent on rural roads vs. 25 percent on Interstates.
- 84 percent of all fatal trucking accidents occur during the week and most often during the workday hours of 9-5.
- Construction area fatalities involve semi-trucks 26 percent of the time.
Common Types of Trucking Accidents
A trucking accident, like any other accident, can happen for any reason. However, there are certain conditions that seem to occur in a majority of trucking accidents. The most common types of trucking accidents include:
- Accidents occurring when the truck is turning right
- Lane change accidents
- Construction area accidents
Trucking accidents can also occur when a car merges in front of a truck and stops too quickly without enough space between the two vehicles. It is crucial to always have extra space between a passenger vehicle and a semi-truck when driving so that there is enough braking distance for the truck.
Speak with a Trucking Accident Attorney
Trucking accidents often lead to life-changing injuries for the people in smaller vehicles. These injuries often require extensive medical care for the victim to make a recovery. These accidents are also quite complicated because they involve federal and state laws and often have multiple insurers covering the event.
To protect the rights of those injured in a trucking accident, you are encouraged to consult with a truck accident attorney in New Jersey.
An attorney will make sure that the insurance companies treat you fairly and provide you with a settlement that covers your actual losses. Many insurers like to undercut the true costs of an accident to save money.
Trucking accidents are always serious events. If you have been involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle, speak with a personal injury attorney whose focus is on trucking accidents today.