There are numerous reasons 1 in 10 highway accidents involve a truck. They are larger, heavier, and take considerably longer to stop. There are also more cars on the road than trucks, so the likelihood of an accident involving the death of an occupant of a smaller vehicle is further increased. Finally, many trucks have greater ground clearance, which leaves room for cars and motorbikes to underride the truck during an accident.
Truck Accident Statistics
Analysis from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) tracks data on road accidents, including those involving trucks. In 2016 there were 3,986 fatalities in truck accidents. Truck occupants accounted for seventeen percent of those deaths, whereas car occupants made up 66 percent. Other fatalities included pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclist who combined made up 16 percent of deaths.
Percentagewise, 2016 experienced a 27-percentage increase from 2009, which marked the lowest number of fatalities since the recording of data began in 1975. Of the deaths recorded in 2016, the number of truck accident victims who were fatally injured also increased by a staggering 47-percent on the numbers recorded in 2009.
Truck Accident Factors
When all things are considered, distance is the single most common factor in truck accidents. Trucks need greater distance to stop, turn, and maneuver. A truck driver also has to deal with more blind-spots than other drivers, so proximity is another issue which comes into play when vehicles competing for space get too close for comfort. Less common, but possible scenarios, may involve an accident occurring due to a truck that has shed its load.
Truck drivers and the companies that employ them have certain responsibilities above those of private citizens. There are laws surrounding how trucks are loaded, the weight of cargo, distance travelled, maintenance, etc. Truck drivers also need to exercise greater caution when navigating the roads of California.
Operators of smaller passenger vehicles such as cars, bicycles, and motorcycles also need to understand the limitations of trucks and avoid compromising the driver’s ability to stop or maneuver the vehicle safely. When all drivers are courteous in sharing our roads the number of truck accident related fatalities may drop as a result.
Truck Accident Lawsuits
Truck accident lawsuits are often complex in nature, simply due to the fact there are numerous potential parties involved. Even if an accident involves a single truck and a car, establishing liability can be made more complicated by the fact that the truck belongs to a company and was potentially loaded by a completely separate entity.
Injured parties or heirs will also have a potentially large and aggressive insurance company to contend with, which can prove overwhelming for those who are already dealing with the impact of injuries or loss of a loved one. Having a lawyer with experience in winning truck accident lawsuits on your side will help you navigate the challenges ahead.
If you have been involved in a truck accident in California, reach out to Maison Law for expert representation in your case.