Why Do Fatal Truck Accidents Continue to Increase?

The most recent data for fatal truck crashes in the United States is in.  The reports are not good, as the number of people killed in commercial truck accidents rose again.

In May 2018, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published its report on large truck accidents for 2016, the most recent year that final numbers are available. In 2015, 4,094 people were killed in truck accidents. The following year, 4,317 people lost their lives in crashes with commercial trucks, a jump of five percent in the course of 12 months.

80 Percent of Fatal Truck Crashes Involve Numerous Vehicles

Because commercial tractor-trailers are so large and heavy, the fatal crashes they are involved in are likely to include multiple vehicles.  The NHSTA reports that 80 percent of fatal truck crashes in 2016 involved numerous other vehicles.

Almost three out of every four deaths in commercial truck crashes (72 percent) were occupants in other vehicles they hit.  Another 11 percent of the people killed in catastrophic truck accidents were bicyclists and pedestrians.  That’s a one-year rise of 4 percent and 13 percent, respectively, and the most bicyclist and pedestrian deaths in a decade.

The number of commercial trucks involved in deadly crashes also jumped between 2015 and 2016, by well over 100.  The rate of trucks involved in fatal crashes per 100 million miles driven remained exactly the same year to year.  So that appears to show that the risk for deadly truck accidents is constant.

The concern, though, is that we’ve seen a steady increase in the number of trucks on the road as the economy improves and online shopping continues to grow.  More large commercial big rigs operated by inattentive truckers simply mean more people likely will be killed.

The fact that 79 percent of the fatal truck crashes in 2016 happened between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays – when more truckers and more passenger vehicles are on the road – only reinforces this reality.

Increase in Drunk Truck Drivers

There were more drunk commercial truck drivers on the road in 2016 than the year prior; a 2 percent increase of truckers who had blood alcohol concentrations of at least .08 percent.  Nearly one out of 10 truck drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2016 previously had their license suspended or revoked.

The causes vary but the facts are clear that innocent people die when commercial trucks crash.

If you lost a loved one in an accident involving a commercial truck, discuss the circumstances with a truck accident lawyer experienced in holding negligent truck companies and negligent truck drivers accountable.

The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.

Authored by Gray, Ritter & Graham, P.C., posted in Blog May 18, 2018