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Deaths in Truck, Motorcycle and Railroad Accidents Increase

Fatal accidents involving trucks, motorcycles, and railroads are usually complex in nature. And, recently, more numerous.

While overall transportation deaths in this country decreased between 2009 and 2010, research by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reveals an increase during the same period in fatalities from truck, motorcycle, and railroad accidents.

The NTSB released its findings in December 2011. Motorcycle-related deaths increased the most of all transportation categories, from 4,469 to 4,502. The number of deaths for occupants in medium and heavy truck accidents rose from 499 to 529, and railroad fatalities increased from 742 to 813. The majority of those deaths occurred at railroad crossings, but deaths from light, heavy and commuter rail accidents increased from 229 to 253.

However, the NTSB says that the total number of deaths on the nation’s highways decreased from just under 34,000 to just under 33,000.

So while the overall number of motor vehicle accident-related deaths dropped between 2009 and 2010, it’s not surprising that fatal accidents involving trucks, motorcycles and railroads rose. Each of these modes of transportation includes increased risks for serious injury and death for unique reasons, with little or no fault by their victims.

Causes for Truck, Motorcycle and Railroad Accidents

Causes for commercial trucking accidents are varied, from tired drivers to too much cargo to improper, negligent maintenance. Regardless of the cause, those involved in trucking accidents face higher odds for a fatal outcome because of the sheer size and weight of the commercial vehicle.

Motorcycle accidents often occur because drivers fail to see them in traffic. And motorcycle operators and passengers don’t have the safety protections offered by automobiles.

Dangerous railroad crossings are, unfortunately, far too common. Crossings may lack warning gates or functional warning lights, or may have poor sight lines for those approaching them. With the speed, size and cargo of today’s passenger and freight trains, any accidents involving them can result in multiple deaths and significant property damage.