Although traffic deaths are gradually decreasing, deaths involving large trucks increased by one percent in 2019 from 2018, when 885 truckers died. The last time those numbers were higher was in 1988, a deadly reminder that, despite modern medicine, operating long haul trucks can be a dangerous business.
Primary Causes of Truck Accidents
Tire blowouts, brake malfunctions, or falling loads are some types of truck accidents that can frequently occur.
Other leading causes of large truck accidents in the US in 2019 included:
- Bad weather
- Poor visibility
- Driver fatigue
- Drug use
- Drunk driving
- Reckless driving
- Failing to stop for red lights
- Failing to properly signal before a turn
Death Is Still Rare, but Injuries Are Common and Serious
The nearly 900 truckers who died in 2019 are among over 40,000 killed in all types of motor vehicle accidents, according to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. However, these fatalities are just one percent of all injuries. Four and a half million people needed hospital care for car, truck, or motorcycle accidents in the same year.
Some of the common injuries that can result from truck accidents are:
- Internal Bleeding – this is extremely serious but sometimes not noticeable right away. If you’ve been involved in a truck accident, get checked out by a doctor even if you don’t think your injuries are very serious
- Broken Bones – some fractures are very easy to heal, but other breaks, particularly involving your neck or back, can be life-threatening
- Lacerations – these can also vary widely, from minor cuts sustained from broken glass to deep wounds and gashes
- Bruising – most bruising isn’t too serious and will heal with time, ice, and anti-inflammatory medication. However, watch out for deep purple bruising around the abdomen, as it could be a sign of a ruptured organ or internal bleeding that requires emergency care
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) – TBIs are a very serious injury that scientists and doctors are still learning more about. Although a patient may seem to make a full recovery from a serious head injury, the repercussions and lasting harm may make themselves apparent years later. Resulting in the early onset of mentally debilitating or brain degenerating conditions or personality changes
Truck Accidents Aren’t Just Deadly for Truckers
Approximately 4,700 people died in accidents involving large trucks in 2019. This statistic reinforces the notion that it is always far more dangerous for the non-truck driver or passenger than for the trucker themselves. This is particularly true when those being struck are pedestrians or motorcyclists.
Nevertheless, truck drivers are more likely to get into accidents than the average vehicle operator in the US, with 20 percent of all highway traffic accidents involving a large fleet vehicle, such as an 18-wheeler semi. One big reason for this is that truckers spend considerably more time on the road. Other factors include the limitations in their field of vision when driving and the additional factors that affect people over extended periods of driving, such as fatigue.
Once study found that in Florida, Texas, and California, one-third of all trucking accidents involved a fatality. The chance of multiple fatalities also increases when a truck is involved, as truck accidents often result in multi-vehicle crashes or deadly pileups.
Aside from the tragic human cost, truck accidents are also very expensive for the companies that operate fleets, with the average truck crash costing company owners $70,000.
Depending on the type of crash and what caused the accident to occur, the trucking company may find itself liable for damages and sued in court by victims of the crash. While company insurance will usually cover most costs, insurance plans have caps on their coverage. For damages beyond what is covered, the company itself will be responsible for compensation.
If you have been involved in any kind of truck accident and were injured or experienced other damages, contact an attorney to inquire about your legal options for compensation.