Why Did More People Die in Truck Crashes in 2017?

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The number of people killed in truck crashes jumped 16 percent in 2017 over the year prior.  A recent event may point to one cause for this increase.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently released its findings for motor vehicle crashes in the United States for 2017.  According to the NHTSA, 37,133 people died in fatal motor vehicle crashes last year, which is a small overall decrease compared to 2016 fatal car, motorcycle and truck crashes.

In 2017, the number of deadly accidents involving all types of motor vehicles – passenger cars, light trucks, motorcycles, and bicycles – fell except for one: commercial trucks.

Jump in Deaths from Tractor-Trailer Crashes

There were more deaths in crashes with all types of commercial trucks. The number of people who died in crashes with tractor-trailers increased nearly 6 percent between 2016 and 2017.  An even larger hike was seen in fatalities from accidents involving commercial straight trucks, such as delivery vehicles.  Deaths in 2017 crashes with straight trucks jumped almost 20 percent over 2016.

A possible explanation as to why fatal large truck crashes increased so much in 2017 may be found in an event held in July 2018.

In mid-July the Commercial Motor Vehicle Alliance – a consortium of truck safety officials and law enforcement – conducted its 2018 Operation Safe Driver Week. Between July 15 and July 21, CMVA members monitored the roadways in the United States and Canada for signs of dangerous driving behavior by operators of passenger vehicles and commercial big rigs.

One in Four Truckers Cited for Unsafe Driving

The CVSA recently announced the findings of this event. Law enforcement issued 10,709 unsafe driving citations to truck drivers; or a little over 25 percent of every trucker who was contacted during the week.

The top citation was for a violation of either state or local laws.  But the second top unsafe driving citation given to commercial truck drivers was for speeding.  Almost 20 percent of commercial truck citations handed out were for truck drivers who were caught speeding – 1,908 in all.

The other top citations were for truck drivers who failed to obey a traffic control device, such as a trucker running a red light, and for truck drivers using a hand-held phone while behind the wheel. Per U.S. federal rules, over-the-road truckers can only use cell phones hands-free.

Speeding was the top citation for passenger vehicle drivers in 2018 Operation Safe Driver Week.  They certainly pose dangers, but not as much as truckers who drive recklessly while atop a tractor-trailer rig that weighs as much as 34,000 pounds.

Commercial truck drivers need to be responsible behind the wheel.  When they aren’t, innocent victims may suffer.

If you were seriously injured or lost a loved one in a crash involving a commercial truck, contact a commercial truck accident lawyer to pursue your legal rights to just compensation.

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 October 11, 2018