Each year in the United States approximately 500,000 commercial truck crash cases occur on our nation’s roadways. Of these truck crash cases, approximately 133,000 people are injured and five thousand lives are lost. A truck crash is a unique event that has a greater likelihood of causing catastrophic damage, including personal injury and loss of life, compared to other motor vehicle accidents. Statistics show that truck drivers are generally safer in their personal driving habits than passenger car drivers are, though truck driver negligence and recklessness can contribute to truck crash causes.
When a truck crash ends in the loss of life, it is most often the people in passenger cars who are the victims. Of the 5,300 fatalities in truck crash accidents in 2002, seventy-seven percent of the fatalities were passenger car drivers of passengers. Twelve percent of these truck crash fatalities involved truck driver deaths (664 people). Over 300 pedestrians and 70 bicyclists also lost their lives in a truck crash in 2002. Statistics also show that the type of truck involved in the majority of truck crash cases is tractors carrying one semi-trailer.
Causes of a Truck Crash
There can be many factors that cause a truck crash. In truck crash cases involving a passenger vehicle, the cause of the accident can sometimes be attributable to driver negligence. Passenger car drivers do not always understand how to safely share the road with big trucks and can misjudge truck acceleration, braking, and visibility capabilities. Passenger driver negligence can cause a truck crash in the following cases: a driver fails to merge, change lanes, or safely pass a big truck, drives in “no zone” areas where a truck has zero visibility, drives in between two large trucks or commits any other act of negligence or recklessness on the road.
Who Is At Fault in a Truck Crash?
Fault in a truck crash can often be attributable to truck driver negligence or some other related party. When a car driver or passenger is injured in a truck crash, it is possible that the truck driver, company, employer, contractor, or similar party is responsible for the conditions which led to the accident. Truck driver-related factors that can contribute to a truck crash include driver fatigue, inexperience, recklessness, intoxication, oversized loads, compensation systems that encourage longer drives at faster speeds, and other similar factors.
Truck driver fatigue is a major cause of truck crash accidents. The federal government estimates that thirty to forty percent of all truck crash cases are caused, in whole or part, by truck driver fatigue. Because the nature of truck driving requires long hours and long distances, the federal government has placed limits on the amount of time that a driver can work between breaks in order to protect these workers and reduce truck crash risks. Truck drivers can also be responsible for truck crashes when they operate their vehicles negligently, recklessly or intoxicated.
Contact a Qualified Truck Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one has suffered damages in a truck crash, you may wish to contact a qualified trucking accident attorney who can evaluate your case to determine your legal rights and options.