July 16, 2019
Pitts Carr and Alex Weatherby
How common are truck accidents?
There are few things more intimidating than driving past a large truck on a highway. These big tractor-trailers are an integral part of the economy, transporting over $700 billion of goods in the U.S. alone. But, we all know that a vehicle that can weigh 33,000 pounds or more can do some real damage when it impacts a car. Statistics support this.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (“FMCSA”) is the branch of Department of Transportation that oversees big rigs for the U.S. Government. The FMCSA compiles an annual report on “statistics about fatal, injury, and property-damage-only crashes involving large trucks and buses.” These are the statistics that stand out the most, from the most recent released report in 2017:
- There were 4,889 truck and bus fatal accidents in 2017.
- There were 116,000 tractor trailer and bus accidents with injuries in 2017.
- The amount of truck and bus accidents with deaths or injuries has increased each year since 2009.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (“IIHS”) is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to traffic safety. IIHS analyzed the data provided by the Department of Transportation and provided some important insights. This includes that “eleven percent of all motor vehicle crash” fatalities in 2017 involved a tractor trailer.
It is clear that we need to improve road safety with tractor-trailers. There are a number of ways to help. First, proper regulation is important. The FMCSA issues detailed regulations that apply to trucks. With regulations this big, improvements are always available. Second, there are a number of organizations that fight for safe driving and advocate for education. While improving regulation may not be your expertise, you can support organizations, like the National Safety Council and others, to help improve the safety of our roadways.
Truck driving is important to us because we represent folks in tractor-trailer wrecks. We have represented seriously injured victims, and we have represented truck companies. By representing folks on both sides, we are able to tell our clients what the other side is thinking and planning based on our actual and recent experience. This gives our clients a distinct advantage.