Big Rig Accident Statistics

April 8, 2024 | By Francis Firm Injury Attorneys
Big Rig Accident Statistics

Trucks transport over 15 billion tons of freight annually, which will continue to increase substantially over the next decade. Over three million drivers transport this freight over the same roads carrying you and your family.

Many of these drivers are safe and experienced and do everything they can to reach their destination safely. However, other truck drivers flout traffic laws and federal trucking regulations.

You may recover substantial financial compensation if you suffered an injury in a truck accident.

First, you must file an insurance claim or lawsuit against the responsible truck driver.

The first step towards filing a truck accident lawsuit is hiring an experienced commercial vehicle crash lawyer to handle your case.

You can only do so much to pursue total financial compensation for your injuries effectively. A truck accident lawyer will handle all the details of your case, allowing you to focus on other essential things. Your lawyer's presence and ability to hold all parties accountable should keep the responsible party and their insurance company from taking advantage of you.

It costs you nothing out of your own pocket to hire an experienced lawyer, as they only get paid if you win your case.

In the meantime, here are some relevant truck accident statistics that will make you aware of some dangers you may face and how trucking companies do not consider your safety in their day-to-day business.

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The Number of Serious Truck Accidents Is Rising

In the mid-2000s, large trucks were in less than 75,000 truck accidents, marking the lowest point in practically all motor vehicle accidents. Whether fewer trucks were on the road or drivers had better training, truck accident fatalities had steadily dropped since the late 1970s.

Everything changed after the turn of the century. After the advent of smartphones, trucking companies began to cut corners to make more money, causing serious truck accidents to spike sharply over the last 15 years.

In recent years, over 150,000 people have suffered injuries in accidents involving large trucks. Most of these injuries happened to passenger car drivers and the occupants. The number of fatalities in truck accidents has also skyrocketed by 17 percent over the past few years, where nearly 5,000 people each year lose their lives.

For every truck accident fatality, there are dozens of other people who suffer severe injuries. These injuries can change the course of your life and result in high medical and other expenses.

Truck Drivers Are Often Distracted

A youthful and attractive man with a beard is seen using his smartphone while seated in his truck.

Living their life on the road, truck drivers may try to do more than one thing at a time. Distracted driving is common among truckers and a leading cause of accidents.

You might think that cell phone use in the truck is the most common type of distracted driving. While mobile device usage is certainly a danger, trucking companies have found ways to monitor and crack down on drivers, which has cut the use of cell phones behind the wheel.

The most frequent type of truck driver distraction is when they are reaching for an object behind the wheel. They may have something else on the front seat that they need, but they take their eyes off the road in the process.

Reading while driving is the second-most common cause of distracted driving. Further, truck drivers may do other things that distract them, including eating and engaging in conversation.

Truck drivers must have both hands on the road and eyes on the wheel. Otherwise, they may not respond to challenges on the roadway in time or control their massive vehicle.

Most Fatal Truck Crashes Happen on Non-Interstate Roads

You ordinarily think of interstates as routes that are clogged with truck traffic, forcing you to share the roadway with large commercial vehicles. Most people also believe that many fatal truck crashes will happen on interstates because that is where you are most likely to find a truck.

Roughly three-quarters of truck accident fatalities happen on non-interstate roads. State and country routes are often the most dangerous because they are narrow roads and can traverse areas that are far more difficult to navigate.

Of course, interstates are also hazardous for passenger car drivers because tired truck drivers are on long trips. Truck drivers may be even more distracted on interstates because they think they can take their eyes off the roads for a few seconds or more. In addition, trucks are also going faster on interstates because there are higher speed limits.

Most Injuries and Fatalities in Truck Accidents Are in Passenger Vehicles

A collision occurred between a truck and a car, highlighting the dangers of speed and negligence on the road.

Truck injuries are usually the most serious for the driver of the passenger vehicle and the occupants of the car. Under federal regulations, a fully loaded tractor-trailer can weigh up to 80,000, whereas the average passenger car weighs between 3,000 and 4,000 pounds.

The disparity in size between the truck and the other vehicle means a large amount of force in the accident for the car's occupants. In addition, the smaller vehicle will be unable to withstand the force of the accident, and it will likely be totaled. The driver of the car and the passengers may sustain injuries when their bodies smash against hard surfaces in the vehicle.

The truck driver can also suffer an injury in the accident. Roughly 20 percent of truck accident fatalities and serious injuries are to the driver of the truck. Truck drivers can file a negligence claim when they have suffered an injury in an accident.

There Is a Growing Shortage of Truck Drivers

One statistic often directly related to the rising number of big rig accidents is the growing nationwide shortage of truck drivers. Fewer people want to work in the industry because truck drivers spend long stretches on the road under intense pressure to make timely deliveries.

The older generation of truck drivers is retiring, and trucking companies want to avoid paying the compensation it takes to hire drivers with the experience to know what they are doing.

Estimates show that between 100,000 and 150,000 truck drivers are needed to fill gaps and shortages. Congress has even passed a law that allows commercial truck drivers as young as 18 to make cross-country trips.

Further, trucking companies are turning to younger and less experienced drivers to save money. Truck drivers who lack experience make less, and trucking companies want to maintain their profits.

The Trucking Industry Makes Huge Profits

A trailer truck is parked at a dock warehouse, loading package boxes onto a shipping cargo container. This activity represents the essential process of cargo shipment within the supply chain.

Regarding profits, trucking companies' desire to make money often increases the risks of big rig accidents. Trucking companies are estimated to have an operating margin of roughly 16 cents for every mile that the vehicle travels. They get paid by their customers or use vehicles to transport their own products (including large companies, such as Walmart and Target).

Trucking companies want to keep as much of their payment as possible in profit, so they try to cut corners in any way they can to save money. They may try to save or make money by skimping on the necessary maintenance of trucks.

Trucking companies want to avoid taking the trucks off the road and do not want to invest in expensive parts. Truck tires can cost up to $1,000 each, and trucking companies may try to keep the truck on the road despite its need for maintenance.

Trucking companies may also underpay drivers, hiring those with less experience to maintain operating margins. The result is that the truck driver may not have the savvy and skill to avoid an accident on the road. The outsized trucking industry profits directly correlate to the spike in accident fatalities.

Financial Compensation After Truck Accident Injuries

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury in an accident involving a large truck, you can sue the trucking company that employed the responsible driver. Principles of agency law mean that the truck driver and the trucking company are the same entity.

You will not sue a truck driver personally because they will not have the money to pay your damages. However, the trucking company should have deeper pockets, including at least $1 million in insurance coverage (more than the federal minimum of $750,000).

You can qualify for financial compensation when you show that the trucking company, or someone else, was negligent and caused your injuries.

To demonstrate negligence, you must prove:

  • The truck driver (or the trucking company) owed you a duty of care.
  • They failed to uphold their duty of care because they did something unreasonable.
  • You suffered an injury.
  • You would not have suffered an injury had it not been for the actions or omissions of the truck driver or trucking company.

Once you establish your legal right to compensation, you may be eligible for a substantial settlement check.

First, you must either negotiate compensation with the insurance company or persuade a jury of the full extent of your damages. Truck accidents tend to produce larger awards because they produce more severe injuries, and the trucking company should have the money to pay you fully.

Why You Need a Truck Accident Lawyer for Your Case

Truck Insurance Application Form: Securing Your Cargo, Protecting Your Investment.

You need to hire an experienced trucking accident attorney for your case. There is a tremendous amount at stake because of the money involved. Trucking companies can owe you a lot and want to do everything they can to avoid paying, and may try to steamroll you in settlement negotiations or even blame the crash on you.

Hiring an experienced lawyer can help protect your legal rights and demonstrate your entitlement to more money. Then, your lawyer can hold the insurance companies accountable, using the prospect of litigation to get them to pay for your damages.

There are even more reasons why you need a truck accident lawyer to represent you. Truck accidents have many more sources of evidence you will need to gather, such as proving liability and demonstrating that the trucking company may have failed to follow federal law.

The trucking companies hold much of this evidence, and they will not make it easy for you to get your hands on it. They may even try to cover up what happened when they know the evidence can implicate them.

An experienced attorney can gather the available physical evidence to help prove your case. They also understand the litigation process and how to obtain additional information from the trucking company through discovery. They can use all this information and evidence to build a strong case in favor of liability and the compensation you deserve.

Hiring a Truck Accident Attorney Costs Nothing Upfront

The best part about hiring a truck accident lawyer is that it will not cost you anything upfront. Lawyers will typically work on a contingency fee basis, so they will only charge legal fees for their services if they win your case. If they are successful in securing a settlement or favorable verdict for you, their fee will be a percentage of that amount. If they cannot win your case, you won't owe them fees.

The truck accident attorney will also cover all case-related expenses upfront. This includes expert witness fees, filing fees, investigation costs, and more. These are often expenses injured victims cannot afford on their own, putting them at a disadvantage in building a strong case without professional assistance.

Don't let financial concerns prevent you from seeking the help you need. A contingency fee arrangement means that anyone can afford legal representation from a truck accident lawyer. Seeking legal help will relieve financial stress - not add to it.

Seek Your Free Consultation With a Truck Accident Attorney Today

Truck Accident Lawyer, Michael Francis

Dealing with insurance companies and legal proceedings after a truck crash can be highly challenging. Never wait to consult a truck accident attorney who has experience in handling these types of cases. Consultations are free as part of the contingency fee arrangement.

A skilled personal injury attorney can evaluate the details of your case and advise you on what to expect regarding compensation for your injuries and damages. Whether you were the driver of another vehicle involved in the accident or a pedestrian, a truck accident attorney can fight for the maximum compensation you deserve.