Every day there are large commercial semi-trailers and other cargo trucks putting millions of miles beneath their wheels as they cross the nation on the interstate highways. Although large trucks only make up 4% of the registered vehicles in the U.S., they travel up to14% of all miles logged each year. While drivers are required to be trained and have a commercial license to drive these big rigs, they also work long hours and drive hundreds of miles a day, making them prone to fatigue and distraction while driving. It only takes a second for an accident to happen going 60 MPH or more on an interstate highway, and when one of these rigs crashes, the results can be deadly.
Large Truck Accident Fatalities
When large trucks collide with another vehicle on a highway, there are often dire consequences for the passengers of that vehicle. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that one out of nine fatal crashes involved a large truck in 2008, with the vast majority of these fatalities being occupants of other vehicles. Large truck accidents cause thousands of deaths and severe injuries each year, more often for those they hit than the drivers of the trucks. In 2010, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports that there were 3,484 fatality accidents that involved large trucks, with a total of 3,675 people killed in these accidents. Another 80,000 people were injured in crashes involving large trucks. Of these accidents:
- Only 14% of the fatalities were occupants of the large trucks, meaning the other 86% that were killed were passengers in other vehicles or pedestrians
- Only 25% of the injuries were occupants of the large trucks, with 75% being in other vehicles or pedestrians
- Tractors pulling semi-trailers were involved in 68% of fatal truck accidents and 48% of non-fatal truck accidents
Driver Related Factors In Large Truck Accidents
Whenever a fatal accident occurs, especially involving a large truck, there is always an investigation as to the cause of the accident. While truck drivers do not necessarily readily admit they are at fault, it is often determined that these accidents are caused by driver error. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the top five driver-related factors in fatal truck accidents are:
- Speeding. Adding high speed to the large weight of a commercial truck can be deadly. Not only does it increase the time needed to stop and make the truck harder to control, it also increases the force of impact.
- Distraction/inattention. Distracted driving is a large contributor to all accidents. Drivers far from home and constantly on the road may be tempted to talk or text on their phones while driving.
- Failure to stay in lane. Fatigue and distraction can both lend to truck drivers drifting into other lanes, causing accidents.
- Vision obscured. Large trucks have limited views of the road from the driver position immediately ahead of them and on either side, making it hazardous for those sharing the road with them.
- Fail-to-yield right away. Drivers not seeing or yielding to other vehicles on the road can end in a deadly collision.
Lawyers For People Injured In Truck Accidents On Illinois Highways & Interstates
When these large truck accidents happen on the highways, the victims are often seriously injured and thousands lose their lives. Pursuing damages from a large truck accident can be more complicated than a standard vehicle accident. There may be more than one entity involved that is considered financially responsible, including the driver and the company they work for. Most victims will want an experienced personal injury lawyer on their side to ensure they receive the fullest compensation for their injuries.
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