Truck Accidents And Traffic Fatalities

In the past decade (1994-2004), there have been, on average, over 400,000 truck accidents each year in the United States. According to truck accident statistics, truck accidents account for approximately 5,000 fatalities every year in the United States alone.

Twelve percent of all truck accidents end up killing at least one person, if not more. A staggering 75-80% of the fatalities are of the driver of the passenger vehicle involved in the truck accident, whereas 16% of the fatalities are of the truck driver or another person in the truck, with the rest of the fatalities being of non-drivers.

A high percentage of all traffic fatalities involve a crash with some kind of truck. With gross weights starting at over 10,000 pounds, and lengths of big trucks going up to 75 feet, it is not easy to survive a truck accident.

Other factors contribute to truck accident fatalities. Some of these are:

1)Rollover accidents: As many as half of all truck accident fatalities occur due to rollover accidents. When a truck rolls over on its roof, the driver and other passengers in the truck often get crushed, resulting in one or more fatalities. Even though a big truck is so much larger than a passenger vehicle, the crashworthiness (ability to withstand crashes) of trucks is considerably lower than smaller vehicles. Big trucks are typically made of aluminum as opposed to steel, which is why their crashworthiness is reduced, thus increasing fatalities due to rollovers.
2)Under-ride accidents: Most people understand that the size and length of trucks can lead to accidents. But what many people are not aware of is that the height of a big truck is even more cause for concern. While going at high speeds, if a truck brakes suddenly, a smaller vehicle behind the truck can easily go right under the truck, due to its raised height. These types of accidents are known as under-rides. In an under-ride, the entire roof of the small vehicle may be ripped off, and decapitation could also be the fate of the passengers, thus resulting in fatalities.

It is estimated that almost 98% of all under-rides involving trucks and smaller passenger vehicles result in the fatality of either the driver or another passenger in the smaller vehicle. In order to cut down under-ride accidents, so as to reduce truck accident fatalities, federal laws have mandated stronger and lower rear guards for big trucks. However, these were not made mandatory for all kinds of big trucks, and only protected under-rides from the rear of the truck. There is no stopping under-rides from the sides of the trucks, which is how many of these accidents occur.

Some Truck Accident Fatality Statistics

It is estimated that one out of eight, or 13%, of all traffic fatalities, is due to a big truck being involved in the traffic accident.
On an average, 16 people die each day as a result of a truck accident.
Big trucks are more likely to be involved in a fatal multiple-vehicle crash than a smaller passenger vehicle. As many as 84% of fatal big truck accidents involve multiple-vehicle crashes as opposed to single-vehicle accidents.

In approximately 27% of fatal truck accidents which were the fault of the truck drivers, the drivers involved had at least one speeding conviction before the fatal truck accident occurred. In comparison, 19% of the passenger vehicle drivers that were involved in a fatal vehicle accident had a prior speeding conviction. Out of all of the fatal truck accidents because of the truck driver, only one percent of them were DUI-related. In contrast, DUI occurrences for drivers of passenger vehicles were much higher, with 22% of them DUI related, and 29% for motorcyclists.

If a relative, or someone you love, has died in a truck accident, there may be a case of wrongful death. Seek advice from an experienced lawyer as soon as possible to obtain the maximum in damages.

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