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Truck collisions numbers are up

It seems that news of tractor-trailer crashes are weekly, if not daily, occurrences on the news. Whether it is Interstate 70 or one of the state highways, commuters will often see the wreckage or damage caused by these serious crashes. Since ambulances already took the injured to hospitals before the traffic backups clear, fellow drivers tend to forget or ignore these all-too-common collisions’ serious and often deadly nature.

Numbers double in 10 years

We’d like to think that the roads are safer with new technology assisting drivers, but this is not the case for trucks. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), the number of truck-related crashes more than doubled between 2009 and 2019 (the most recent year with comprehensive data), going from 53,000 to 118,000. Over that time, the number of fatalities went up 43%, from 2,852 deaths to 5,005. The numbers account for 10% of all deaths despite involving only 4% of the total collisions and 7% of all vehicle miles traveled.

Bigger vehicles mean more severe injuries

There are not any recent studies of note on the cause of truck accidents, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued an authoritative study in 2006 on the cause of truck collisions. The most common reasons were:

  • Driver error
  • Driving too fast for conditions
  • Speeding
  • Non-performance issues like fatigue, illness or incapacitation

Legal action is often necessary

While truck drivers are rarely severely injured in these crashes, victims in smaller cars, trucks and motorcycles often suffer life-changing injuries. Of course, this is due to the size differential between trucks and other vehicles. Despite the increased numbers outlined above, insurance carriers representing trucking lines continue to dispute paying reasonable settlements to victims and their families. So families need to work with someone who understands the complexity of these cases and their worth, whether it involves settling ahead of time or litigating in court.