Researchers have noted some frightening statistics involving truck accidents in recent years. In 2018, the number of fatalities in truck accidents reached its highest rate in a decade when more than 4,100 people died in truck-related crashes. The following year, the number of fatalities decreased but the number of people injured in truck accidents increased. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, 159,000 people were hurt in truck accidents in 2019, a 5% increase over the previous year.
Common causes of truck accidents
When state and federal agencies track these types of statistics, they try to pinpoint the causes of the accidents so that they can develop ways to keep people safer on roadways in Georgia and throughout the nation. Some other statistics help shed light on the causes of truck accidents.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration estimates that the most common causes of accidents involving large trucks are mechanical failure, driver fatigue and driver confusion over unfamiliar routes. All of these things can be factors in all sorts of motor vehicle accidents,
Mechanical failure includes tire blowouts and other tire problems. According to the FMCSA, tire failure accounts for as many as 30% of all truck-related accidents. While tire failure can affect any type of motor vehicle, it can be a particularly common problem for large trucks carrying heavy loads over long distances.
Another factor that is particularly problematic for commercial trucks is sleep deprivation. Federal government regulations set limits on how many hours truck drivers can spend behind the wheel before they must take a rest break, but drivers don’t always follow them. Truck companies run on tight deadlines and often push their drivers to work to the point of exhaustion and beyond.
The consequences of truck accidents
Because commercial trucks are so much larger and heavier than other vehicles on the road, accidents involving semitrailers and other large trucks are extremely destructive. In any accident involving a large truck and a passenger car, the occupants of the smaller vehicle can easily be left with catastrophic or fatal injuries even when the truck driver is unhurt.
Truck accidents also have unusual legal issues. A person who was injured by a negligent truck driver may, in many cases, recover compensation not only from the truck driver, but also from the truck driver’s employer. In these cases, it is helpful for the injured and their families to receive advice from an attorney who has experience in truck accident cases and who is knowledgeable about trucking regulations.