Because of their sheer size and weight, trucks can cause catastrophic damages when involved in accidents with passenger vehicles. Property damage aside, the victims of truck accidents often sustain severe and life-altering injuries, including but not limited to lacerations, burns, disfigurement, broken bones, internal injuries, spinal cord injuries, and even death. In this post, we present some truck accident statistics as well as some information on what to do in the event of an accident.

Our Chicago truck accident lawyers at Dwyer & Coogan, P.C. work to help accident victims and their families recover compensation for the harm done to them. To learn more about we are prepared to help you through such a difficult time, contact our law firm today.

The Trucking Industry Moves America

The trucking industry is one of America’s largest industries—and one of its most crucial. According to American Trucking Associations, 71 percent of the nation’s cargo is transported via truck, with more than 10 billion tons of weight shipped by weight in the average year. Approximately 7.4 million people throughout the nation’s economy are employed by the industry, and that is excluding the self-employed. To say that the industry is essential to the American economy is an understatement.

However essential the industry may be, it is clear that the regulations governing it need to be stricter and that safety standards to be taken more seriously. This post shares just a few shocking trucking accident statistics that support this opinion.

Most Shocking Truck Accident Statistics

Below are a few truck accident statistics pulled from sources such as the NHTSA, FMCSA, and DoT:

  • Approximately half a million truck accidents occur on U.S. roads in any given year
  • There were approximately 3,852 fatal crashes in 2016, which amounts to 10.5 deaths per day
  • Nearly 90 percent of trucking accidents are caused by human error—whether by the trucker or the driver of the passenger vehicle
  • Brake failure is the leading cause of trucking accidents, followed by speeding, unfamiliarity with routes, over the counter drug use, fatigue, and work pressure
  • More than 60 percent of truck accidents occur on rural roads
  • Approximately 75 percent of truck accidents are caused by drivers of other vehicles

Those stats just deal with the cause of the accidents and not the ensuing damage. The following statistics highlight the extent of the destruction that truck accidents can cause:

  • Approximately 4,000 individuals are killed in truck accidents each year, accounting for approximately 11 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities
  • Of all the people killed in trucking accidents, about 98 percent were the occupants of the passenger vehicles struck by trucks
  • Roughly 130,000 individuals are injured in truck accidents each year
  • 29 percent of victims were killed in head-on crashes, while 20 percent were killed in rear-end collisions
  • Vehicle roll over accounts for more than half of all truck accident fatalities
  • Fatal tractor trailer accidents cost Americans approximately $20 billion each year, $13.1 of which is associated with loss of enjoyment of life

What These Stats Tell Us

These numbers, which remain more or less unchanged over the past decade, despite the following trucking laws and regulations in place:

  • Driving time. As of right now, there are laws in place that govern how often and for how long truckers may drive without sufficient rest stops. For instance, truckers may drive a maximum of 11 consecutive hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty. They may not drive for more than 14 consecutive hours after coming on-duty after a 10-hour rest period.
  • Drinking and driving. Truckers are also subject to drinking and driving laws, which are stricter than those that govern drivers of passenger vehicles. For instance, whereas drivers of passenger vehicles may not have a BAC of .08 or greater, drivers of commercial vehicles may not have a BAC of .04 or greater.
  • Speed limits. Finally, truckers may not drive in excess of 65 miles per hour, though that speed limit is contested by drivers and their employers.

There are countless other regulations that govern truckers, each of which are designed to prevent accidents, injuries, and fatalities. Yet, many of these regulations are broken or disregarded on a constant basis. Combine that with passenger driver inattention, and the accident rates will continue to soar.

What To Do When Involved In A Trucking Accident

If you or a loved one was injured in a trucking accident, one of the best things you can do for your financial future is retain the help of an experienced trucking accident attorney. Contact Dwyer & Coogan, P.C. to set up a free initial consultation and learn more about how our team can help you.