Are Large Truck Accidents More Deadly for Passengers in Other Vehicles?

Does it make you nervous to drive next to a big-rig on the interstate? Do you hold your breath for a few seconds until that 18-wheeler either passes you or is safely in your rear-view mirror? If so, you are not alone. Many people do not like sharing the road with large trucks because they perceive these massive vehicles as dangerous and potentially deadly in large truck accidents. They are correct.

How Many People Die in Large Truck Accidents?

Large trucks were involved in nine percent of the traffic crashes during 2017, even though they only account for four percent of the registered vehicles.

Large truck crashes resulted in 145,000 people being injured during 2016. In 2017, deaths in large truck accidents increased by nine percent (4,761 lives lost). In California during 2017, 361 people died in large truck accidents, which was an increase from the number of large truck accident fatalities in the state during 2016 and 2015.

Seventy-two percent (72%) of those deaths were occupants of other vehicles. The number of occupants of other vehicles killed in large truck accidents during 2017 was the highest it has been since 2008. California had the second highest number of other occupant deaths that year.

Who is Responsible for Large Truck Accidents?

Truck drivers are blamed for many of the large truck accidents each year. An article published on Trucks.com suggests that a factor in the number of truck crashes could be that some truck drivers drive faster because of the federal requirements regarding rest breaks and sleep periods. The drivers speed to make up time that they lose because of the required breaks.

The FMCSA lists the top five truck driver-related factors in fatal truck accidents from 2015 to 2017 as:

  • Speeding of any kind
  • Distraction or inattention
  • Failing to yield the right of way
  • Impairment from alcohol, fatigue, illness, etc.
  • Careless driving
Even though truck driver error is a common cause of truck accidents, it is not the only cause. Common causes of commercial truck accidents include:
  • Truck driver error
  • Weather conditions
  • Other motorists
  • Improperly loaded cargo
  • Poor or hazardous road conditions
  • Failure to perform truck maintenance
  • Inexperienced or improperly trained drivers
  • Faulty or defective parts

In a truck accident case, there could be several parties who might be responsible for damages. The truck driver and the trucking company may be liable, but so could the shipper if the shipper loaded the cargo incorrectly causing the truck to flip when the cargo shifted. A repair shop could be liable for damages if they were negligent in performing repairs or maintenance.

It is crucial to establish at least two things after a truck crash:

1.         What caused the truck crash?

2.         Who might be a liable party?

Our Indianapolis truck accident attorneys begin an accident investigation immediately. We want to ensure key evidence is not destroyed or lost. Large truck accident claims are complex and involve numerous parties. We strongly urge you to contact our office as soon as possible for a free consultation with one of our Indianapolis truck accident lawyers.

Call Poynter & Bucheri for Your Free Case Review

Call 1-800-265-9881 or (317) 780-8000 to request your free consultation with an Indianapolis truck accident attorney.