Identifying Causes of Fatal Truck Crashes
Highway Trooper

An organization focused on making commercial trucking safer recently released its inaugural report on fatal truck crashes. The report highlights common causes of fatal truck wrecks and provides recommendations to curb contributing negligent behavior.

The Institute for Safer Trucking is a nonprofit organization that promotes commercial trucking public safety issues. It has identified its top priorities in this effort, which include:

  • Automatic emergency braking systems for large commercial trucks
  • Speed limiters for large commercial trucks

The group published its Safer Trucking Report in November 2021.  The report offers key statistics regarding fatal truck crashes in 2019, and issues calls to action that will help reduce them in the future.

Dramatic Increase in Fatal Trucking Accidents

The report, like federal data, shows a marked increase in deaths from U.S. commercial truck crashes over the last several years.  They rose 35% between 2010 and 2019 - a dramatic spike, especially considering truck mileage increased only 5% in that same time.

The Institute for Safer Trucking says the increase in truck crash deaths in Missouri was even higher - 61% from 2010 to 2019.

The Safer Trucking Report notes that, in 2019, 60% of all fatal truck crashes involved tractor-trailers. This is not surprising, as a fully loaded tractor-trailer can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, greatly outweighing passenger cars.

The Institute for Safer Trucking calls for the federal government to require emergency braking technology for tractor-trailers.  This technology can stop a commercial truck when a distracted truck driver is not paying attention.

A careless truck driver may not brake in time to avoid stopped traffic ahead, causing a catastrophic, multi-vehicle crash. Reinforcing this scenario is another fact provided in the report: the front of the truck was the initial impact point in 58% of commercial truck crashes in 2019.

Even smaller trucks can cause grave damage.  The report notes that nearly 80% of fatal truck crashes in Missouri involved trucks weighing over 26,000 pounds.

Speeding Commercial Truck Drivers

Speeding truck drivers are a known cause of fatal truck crashes. The report calls for speed limiters, set no faster than 70 mph, on large commercial trucks. Between 2010 and 2019, according to the report, truck crash deaths jumped more than 200% on roads with posted speed limits of 75 mph or faster.

At the same time, truck crash deaths fell 29% on roads that had speed limits at or below 70 mph.

The Safer Trucking Report also notes a few other common causes of fatal truck crashes:

  • Truck drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Improperly maintained trucks
  • Improperly loaded commercial trucks

Fatal truck crashes will continue to increase until truck drivers and trucking companies stop their negligent acts and place safety over profits.

If you were seriously injured or a family member died in a crash caused by a tractor-trailer or other commercial truck, consult a personal injury lawyer about pursuing your legal rights against all those responsible.

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

Authored by Gray Ritter Graham, posted in Blog February 22, 2022


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