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The Facts of Fatal Commercial Truck Crashes

By September 3, 2019October 4th, 2019Blog, Car & Truck Accidents
fatal commercial truck crashes

In 2017, 102 people on average in this country were killed in a motor vehicle accident every single day.

That’s just one of many stats from “Quick Facts 2017,” published last month by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  It provides snapshots of fatal truck crashes and fatal car crashes for 2017, the most recent year such final information is available.

And these series of snapshots paint a vivid portrait as to how dangerous our roads can be, largely because of the carelessness of other drivers.

The report shows that in 2017, 4,761 people were killed in crashes involving tractor-trailers.  That’s a jump of 9 percent over 2016 and a whopping 16 percent increase in the number of people who died in large truck accidents in 2015.

Those who died in 18-wheeler crashes were overwhelmingly in cars that were hit by the big rigs.  In 2017, 72 percent of people killed in wrecks involving truck drivers were occupants in other vehicles.  Another 10 percent were largely pedestrians.

That percentage has remained pretty constant in recent years.  Yet the trucking industry doesn’t seem to take the matter of public safety seriously.

21 Percent of Fatal Large Truck Crashes Involve Speeding

Bi-partisan legislation introduced in June in the U.S. Senate would require speed-limiters on all new commercial trucks. The devices would restrict truckers’ maximum speed to 65 mph.  The NHTSA reports that more than one-in-every-four people killed in driving accidents in 2017 died in crashes involving a speeding driver.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, a lobbying organization for professional truck drivers in the United States, publicly lambasted the speed-limiter legislation. On the organization’s related OOIDA Foundation’s website, it says speed-limiters are not needed, even though it cites statistics showing 21 percent of all fatal tractor-trailer crashes are caused by speeding.

One of the trucking group’s arguments against speed-limiters is that they will not address another speed-related cause of deadly trucking accidents: truck drivers going too fast for current road or weather conditions.

But keep in mind most over-the-road commercial truckers are paid by the mile.  The faster they can go in the shortest amount of time maximizes the money they can make.

Drunk Truck Drivers and Fatal Accidents

The NHTSA reports that 3 percent of all truckers involved in fatal crashes in 2017 were driving drunk.  While that percentage pales in comparison to the 21 percent of drunken car drivers in deadly wrecks that year, it is still too high.  Drunk truck drivers who are hauling loads that weigh multiple tons can cause multiple deaths in one incident alone.

The 2017 fatal truck crash facts are in the books.  Unfortunately, there’s nothing that will change those needless deaths.  But holding negligent truck drivers and negligent truck companies accountable for their irresponsible actions can bring just compensation to their victims and may force them to change their careless behavior going forward so no one else suffers.

If you had a family die or you were critically injured in a crash with a commercial truck, contact a lawyer who represents truck accident victims about your legal options.

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 September 3, 2019