Every driver understands that getting behind the wheel involves significant responsibility, but drivers of semitrucks should recognize how much greater their responsibility is.
A look at truck accident numbers for 2019 posted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety confirms how much damage these large trucks can do.
Large truck crashes in the U.S. killed 4,119 people, of which 67% were passenger vehicle occupants, 16% were truck occupants and 15% were motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians. Most of the deaths of occupants in large trucks were in collisions between two large trucks or in single-vehicle crashes, such as rollovers.
In crashes involving a passenger vehicle and a large truck, 97% of the fatalities were the passenger vehicle occupants. Of the passenger vehicle occupants who died in large truck crashes, 29% involved the truck striking their vehicle head-on.
Data indicates that truck braking capability is a factor in many crashes. Although drivers receive training, they must pay attention to how much space and time they need to come to a stop. The weight of the load, the road conditions and the brake system conditions all affect whether a driver can stop in time.
Fatigue is another reason truck drivers crash. The law allows them to drive for 11 hours at a time, which can be an exhausting amount. However, many violate this rule and drive even longer. These types of crashes can result in collisions where the truck is moving at full speed and drifts into the traffic going the opposite direction.
More than one person may have made choices that contributed to a large truck collision. For example, in the case of braking issues, the mechanic may have failed to replace worn brakes, the loading dock workers may have overloaded the trailer and the driver may not have inspected everything before beginning the day’s drive.
After a large truck crash fatality, family members may be able to hold many parties liable for the loss of their loved one. Damages in a settlement or verdict often include pain and suffering, lost companionship and loss of support.