Auto accidents happen and any accident can have catastrophic consequences for the parties involved. However, semi-trucks or 18-wheeler trucks tend to cause the most serious damage and injuries. This is because they often weigh up to 80,000 pounds. The sheer size of these vehicles poses a number of potential issues as well as threats on our highways. This is why a commercial truck accident is a serious issue.
There are an estimated 15.5 million trucks in the United States. These trucks carry 63% of the goods transported across America. Big Rigs account for 13% of the vehicles on the road. Unfortunately, truck accidents happen frequently across the United States. They often result in injury or death. Victims of these types of accidents are often the drivers and passangers of smaller passenger vehicles. Injured parties are often left with medical bills, property damage, and emotional trauma in addition to any physical harm they may have experienced.
Commercial Truck Accident Statistics
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration releases a report each year concerning motor vehicle accidents, including truck accidents. According to this year’s report:
- There are roughly 500,000 accidents every year in the United States involving commercial vehicles.
- More than 5,000 people died in truck accidents in 2017.
- In 2016, 125,000 large trucks and buses were involved in crashes with injuries.
- 180,000 people suffered injuries in crashes with large trucks or buses.
- 98% of all fatalities in truck accidents occur to the driver or passenger of the other vehicle.
- In 2016, approximately 418,000 accidents that only resulted in property damage involved large trucks and buses.
- In 2017, 372 pedestrians and 76 cyclists died in accidents with big trucks and buses.
- 5 percent of drivers in fatal crashes with big trucks had a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) over .08 percent. 3.6 percent of drivers in those fatal crashes had a BAC of over .01 percent.
- The average cost of a commercial truck accident is $59,150
- There are 2.3 deaths and 60.5 injuries caused by big rigs for every 100 million miles driven on U.S. roadways
Additionally, the Texas Department of Transportation reports the following statistics regarding truck accidents in Texas:
- There were 284 fatal truck accidents and 2,339 truck accidents that resulted in serious injuries in 2010
- There were 15,676 commercial truck accidents in 2010 alone
- Texas roads have a fatality rate of 1.29 deaths per 100 million miles traveled
Causes of Truck Accidents
Causes of truck accidents vary widely. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association, most accidents fall into one or more of the following categories:
- Running out of the lane that the vehicle should travel in (approximately 32 percent)
- Loss of control of the vehicle, including speeding, driving at excessive speeds for the current conditions on the road, and vehicle systems failure (29 percent)
- Rear-end collisions (22 percent)
- 29 percent of total accidents involved brake problems.
- 23 percent of accidents involved speeding.
- 22 percent of accidents involved drivers traveling unfamiliar roads.
- 20 percent of accidents involved in roadway problems.
- 17 percent of accidents included prescription drug use by the driver.
- 14 percent of accidents included inadequate surveillance by the driver.
- 13 percent of accidents included driver fatigue.
- 10 percent of accidents involved a commercial driver who felt work pressure from his or her carrier, including pressure to drive despite fatigue or pressure to meet deadlines.
Why Semi-Trucks Have Higher Accident Risks
Truck drivers spend countless hours on the road every day having to make delivery deadlines. These drivers have to undergo extensive training before receiving their commercial licenses. They are often considered to have more experience than other drivers on the road. However, because of the demands of their job they experience many more difficulties on the road than the average driver.
- Truck drivers spend long hours on the road. Truck drivers may drive for up to eight full hours before taking a break, and they can legally drive for 11 hours out of a 14-hour duty shift. This can cause driver fatigue accidents
- Trucks have more mass than passenger vehicles. These vehicles are 10 to 15 times the weight of the average passenger vehicle on the road. Additionally, they require more room to maneuver as well as break and are often navigating roads designed for passenger vehicles rather than tractor-trailers.
- Truck drivers drive for a living. Many truck drivers receive compensation by the mile. In some cases, they take unnecessary chances to increase the number of miles. Some may work while they are sick, injured, or excessively fatigued from other activities prior to their duty shifts. If they do not work, they do not receive compensation, which for many makes driving under these conditions a necessity.
- Trucks often cause more serious damage. Trucks have much more mass than the average passenger vehicle, and many passenger vehicles have little protection against them. As a result, drivers and passengers in those vehicles are at a greater risk to suffer serious injuries.
Truck Accident Attorney
As explained above, when 18-wheelers are involved in accidents with passenger vehicles, they frequently result in serious of injuries or death. If you or someone you love has been injured in an 18-wheeler accident, you need an experienced Texas truck accident attorney to fight for you every step of the way.
At Walker Texas Lawyer, we have been representing victims and families throughout Texas. We can get to the scene of your accident quickly, independently investigate and maximize the value of your case for past, present, and future damages and losses.
We’re on your side. Contact us at (713) 553-1117 or fill out our form to schedule a free consultation.