New statistics show just how prevalent fatal truck crashes are in America.
Each year the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration releases a report on catastrophic motor vehicle accidents in the United States, using what’s called the Fatality Analysis Reporting System. The most recent edition is for 2014 and was recently published.
This new detailed examination of fatal truck accidents is alarming for many reasons. Of the 3,900 people killed in truck crashes in 2014, 68 percent, or more than 2,600 men, women and children, were occupants in other vehicles. Another 15 percent who died in tractor-trailer accidents were pedestrians and bicyclists.
From 2009 to 2014, the total number of people killed in trucking accidents increased 15 percent. On average there were about 9 fatal truck accidents every day in 2014.
21 Percent Jump in People Hurt in Trucking Accidents
The number injured in trucking accidents was significantly higher. In 2013, 95,000 were hurt in commercial truck crashes. In 2014, 110,000 were injured, a rise of 16 percent in just 12 months. Between 2009 and 2014, the number of people hurt in trucking crashes increased 55 percent.
Combination trucks – those with a tractor pulling at least one trailer – that were involved in serious crashes also increased, from 38,000 in 2013 to 45,000 in 2014. Tractor-trailers accounted for 72 percent of all commercial trucking fatalities in this most recent report.
Top Truck Driver Negligent Behaviors
The report doesn’t assign fault for each fatal trucking accident, but it does say that 34 percent of the truck drivers involved in fatal crashes were found to have committed at least one negligent behavior prior to the accident. The leading truck driver errors identified were:
- Distracted driving, such as cell phone use or eating
- Fatigue, including lack of sleep and drug or alcohol use
- Failure to yield right of way
- Improper lane changes
Bad tires were found to be the most common vehicle-related factor in fatal truck crashes in 2014.
Where do most fatal trucking accidents happen? In 2014, 61 percent of the catastrophic truck crashes were on rural roads, while 26 percent were on Interstate highways.
What makes these trucking accident statistics so grim is the reality that they are more than just numbers. They represent thousands of people who needlessly died because a truck driver or a truck company acted recklessly.
If you were seriously hurt or had a loved one killed in an accident involving a commercial truck, consult an attorney who handles catastrophic trucking cases to begin the process of obtaining justice for your losses.
The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertising.