truck accidents statistics

The Ugly Truth About Truck Accidents

Road crashes and truck accidents are on the rise.  More and more drivers are on the roads, and more and more trucking companies are out hauling loads.  By 2030, road crashes are expected to be the fifth leading cause of death in the United States.

Stop and read that again.

If we look back to statistics in 2017, 4,889 roadway fatalities were caused by a crash with a big rig truck or a bus.  This was a 9-percent increase from 2016. Overall, there has been a 40 percent increase in the number of fatal crashes involving large trucks between 2009 and 2017.

Looking at non-fatal crashes–there were 334,000 injury crashes involving big trucks in 2017.

So, what does all of this data mean?  It means that large trucks are some of the most dangerous vehicles on the road.

Where Do Truck Cccidents Happen?

The most common places where big rig truck crashes occur are rural areas and on Interstate highways.  Approximately 57 percent of all fatal crashes involving large trucks occurred in rural areas, 27 percent occurred on Interstate highways, and 13 percent fell into both categories by occurring on rural Interstate highways. 

What Do We Mean by “Big Rig” Truck?

What is a “big rig” truck? When we talk about “big rig” trucks, we are talking about 18-wheelers, coal trucks, buses, cement trucks, dump trucks, etc.  But, the most prevalent among big rig trucks are tractor-trailers. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), 72 percent of fatal truck accidents in 2017 involved tractor-trailers.

There are around 15.5 million trucks on the road–2 million of which are tractor-trailers.  So, the statistics point to the fact that tractor-trailers are some of the most dangerous vehicles on the roadway.  Period. 

Main Causes of Big Rig Accidents

Vehicular weight and long stopping distance are two of the key causes of truck accidents.  However, there are many other factors that cause truck accidents. Knowing these factors can help us explain why these dangerous truck accidents happen so often. 

Weight and stopping distance of big trucks leading causes of truck crashes.  The weight of the average motor vehicle is about 2.5 tons–thats about 5,000 pounds.  Whereas, a tractor-trailer can weigh up to 40 tons–80,000 pounds!

This means that it takes a much longer distance to stop a tractor-trailer than it does to stop a normal car.  For example, if a car and a tractor-trailer were both traveling at 40 mph and begin braking at the same time, the tractor-trailer would come to a complete stop up to 200 feet further than the car.

A normal passenger car needs about 300 feet to stop after braking, but a tractor-trailer needs about 530 feet!  That is about the length of 1.5 football fields. The speed at which the vehicles are traveling is also very important.  The faster the tractor-trailer is traveling, the longer it will take to come to a complete stop. This is why fatalities and injuries in truck accidents are so common.  

Another key cause of large truck accidents is speeding around curves.  We see many clients who were involved in truck crashes because the truck driver was driving too fast around a curve and caused the crash.  

Truck Accident Statistics Show A High Percentage of Fatalities

The FMCSA releases car crash statistics that also includes separate data for large trucks.  The number of crashes involving large trucks has been increasing year over year since 2009. And the number of fatalities is also on the rise as is the compensation for injuries and wrongful death due to truck accidents.

While it is difficult to attribute a tractor-trailer accident to one single factor, the following factors are leading causes of tractor-trailer accidents:

  • Mechanical failure
  • Poor vehicle maintenance
  • Following too closely
  • Overcompensating while steering
  • Driver fatigue (driver falling asleep at the wheel)
  • Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol 

Our Truck Accident Attorneys Can Help

At Georgia Auto Law, every member of our team specializes exclusively in auto and truck accident cases.  We are the only law firm in Georgia handling only auto accident cases. This means that we do not focus our time, research, or resources on anything except winning you the most money on your car accident case.

You are welcome to call one of our auto attorneys at any time, day or night, at (404) 662-4949.  You can also complete our consultation form, and one of our truck accident specialists will reach out to you within minutes.  With our No Fee Pledge™, you pay nothing. We are here for you.

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Mark Wade

Mark Wade is a personal injury trial lawyer in Georgia. He has built a law firm that specializes in car, truck, and motorcycle accidents in order to provide his clients with the highest level of expertise for their auto accident cases.

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