An accident with a semi-truck left one woman dead and four others critically injured in early September. The accident occurred on Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway early on a Saturday morning. Investigators are still working to determine the cause of the accident.
In accidents that involve semi-trucks, investigators typically focus on determining one root cause that places primary liability on the driver who was struck or the semi-truck driver. This means poring over witness statements, surveillance feeds, and talking to both parties. In many of these cases, police only have the witness statements of the truck drivers since they are less likely to be injured in an accident with a smaller commuter vehicle. Whether the family or families of those injured or killed can file lawsuits against the trucking company depends on the extent of its driver’s negligence, or the truck company’s negligence.
Analyzing Truck Accident Statistics
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) updated a report on February of 2019 on the causes of tractor-trailer accidents involving smaller commuter vehicles. In order to do this, they broke down the causes of such crashes into two distinct types. Those were: primary causes of the accident and risk factors or conditions present during the accident that could have contributed to the accident.
It was determined through a careful analysis that 55 percent of all accidents involved “large trucks.” Large trucks are defined as those with a weight rating of over 10,000 pounds. They include semis and tractor-trailers. Top reasons for trucking accidents included:
- Illness or fatigue of the truck driver contributed to three percent of all accidents;
- Recognition issues, including distracted driving, contributed to 35 percent of all accidents;
- Speed, aggressive driving, or some other decision failure contributed to 42 percent of all accidents;
- Performance issues, such as overcompensation, contributed to seven percent of all accidents;
- Mechanical problems with the trucks contributed to eight percent of all accidents; and
- Weather or environmental factors contributed four percent of all accidents.
In cases where the car was deemed at fault for the accident, distracted driving and speeding made up the majority of causes.
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Secondary Problems and Risk Factors in Trucking Accidents
Secondary problems that were present in cases where accidents occurred and the trucking company was at-fault for the accident included:
- Problems with brakes were present in 27 percent of accidents;
- Traffic flow interruptions contributed to 25 percent of accidents;
- 21 percent of accidents involved a stop to be performed;
- Unfamiliarity with the roadway contributed to 19 percent of accidents;
- Inadequate surveillance factored into 16 percent of accidents;
- Condition-related speeding factored into 15 percent of accidents;
- Illegal maneuvers were committed in 12 percent of accidents;
- Work pressure was associated with 10 percent of accidents;
- Distraction was associated with 10 percent of accidents;
- Inattention to the road factored into nine percent of accidents; and
- Fatigue was implicated in seven of accidents.
Additionally, in five percent of accidents, the driver made a bad assumption about what another driver was going to do.
Other factors that contributed to crashes included:
- Tire problems (six percent);
- Tailgating (five percent); and
- Aggressive driving (five percent).
The presence of illegal drugs or alcohol factored into fewer than one percent of accidents.
The Top 10 “Causative” Factors in Trucking Accidents
In no particular order, the top 10 causes of trucking accidents in which the driver or trucking company was at fault were:
- The truck was loaded improperly or overweight;
- The truck made an illegal maneuver or was guilty of a moving violation;
- The trucker failed to surveil the road, check mirrors, or check blind spots;
- The trucker was distracted while driving or not paying attention to the road;
- The trucker was following the vehicle in front of it too closely;
- The trucker poorly gauged the other driver’s speed;
- A stop was required immediately prior to the crash;
- Some external distraction contributed to the crash; or
- Brake problems were implicated in the crash.
For cars, drivers of passenger vehicles were often intoxicated during the crash. Making an illegal maneuver or otherwise failing to fully surveil the road also contributed to a large number of accidents that were caused by the driver of the passenger vehicle.
The Latest Data in Trucking Accidents
There is plenty of blame for both truck drivers and commuters on the road. However, the regulations on trucking companies are tighter because their vehicles are so much larger and thus more dangerous.
The latest data published by the FMCSA is from 2017. In 2017, there were nearly 5,000 fatal accidents involving large commercial trucks or buses. That’s a 42 percent increase from 2009. There was a 40 percent overall increase in the number of fatalities from 2009 to 2017 compared to 2005 to 2009. Meanwhile, injury-related settlements continue to climb after a brief decline in 2002.
Why are there more accidents involving large commercial trucks today than there ever have been before? The answer is deceptively simple: there are more trucks and drivers on the road than there ever have been before. More traffic means statistically more accidents are likely to occur. That does not mean that attempts to regulate the trucking industry have been unsuccessful.
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What to Do If You’re Injured in a Trucking Accident
If you’ve been injured in an accident involving a large commercial truck or bus, a determination will be made as to who is at fault for the accident. In cases where the trucking company was negligent, you will need to prove your case.
The Roger Ghai Law Offices make a habit out of preparing every case so that it’s trial-ready. In so doing, we can leverage the trucking company that injured you into a fair settlement that compensates you for all your injuries.
Talk to a Kennesaw, GA Trucking Accident AttorneyThe Roger Ghai Law Offices have represented hundreds of clients in lawsuits against negligent trucking companies. We employ cutting-edge investigative techniques and ensure that your case is trial-ready. We collect doctor’s reports, medical evidence, and eye-witness statements to corroborate your claims. We handle all communication between the trucking company’s insurance company and all you to focus on your recovery. Give us a call today for a free consultation