How Many Accidents Are Caused by Truck Drivers?

In 2018, 4,136 people were killed in truck accidents. In only 16 percent of these accidents, the occupant of the truck was the victim. Of the other fatalities, 67 percent were the occupants of passenger vehicles and 15 percent were pedestrians, bicyclists or pedestrians. The number of fatalities in large truck accidents has been tabulated since 1975, with 2009 reporting the lowest number of deaths. In 2018, deaths in truck accidents were 31 percent higher.

Causes of Truck Accidents

There are many causes of truck accidents, although there are some that are more common than others. These include the following.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is a problem in all types of vehicles, but when it occurs in a truck, it can be deadly. Dialling a cell phone or sending a text can take your eye from the road for as much as four seconds. Although that does not sound like a long time, in that four seconds, a truck driving 55 miles per hour will travel the length of a football field. In 2009, one study found that 71 percent of all large truck crashes occurred due to distracted driving.

Driver Fatigue

The National Institutes of Health reported that fatigue is one of the most common causes of truck accidents where the truck driver was found to be at fault. In one study, they found that 31 percent of crashes involving large trucks occurred when the truck driver was fatigued. A driver who is fatigued often takes unnecessary risks which may lead to accidents. The fatigue may be due to unrealistic schedules and an expectation from trucking companies that drivers need to hurry.

Driver Inexperience

A study of transportation statistics conducted by the United States Department of Transportation found that truck drivers with less than five years’ experience are 41 percent more likely to cause an accident than one who had more experience. There are times when a trucking company does not properly train their drivers, leading to a driver who has not spent enough time learning. They may make errors that lead to disastrous results.

Improper Loading

According to a report on the danger of debris on the roads conducted by AAA, improper loading and securing of cargo accounted for more than 200,000 crashes between 2011 and 2014. The study also found that 37 percent of all deaths were the result of a driver attempting to swerve and miss the debris. Most of these types of crashes occur in the middle of the day.

Improper Maintenance

Federal regulations require that trucks undergo regular maintenance in order to keep them in good condition while on the road. There are many parts of a truck that can lead to problems on the roadway. If a truck’s brakes fail, the tires are worn, trailers unsafe or the engine malfunctions, serious accidents can occur. For example, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that 223 people died in 2014 alone from truck tire blowouts.

Driving While Under the Influence

According to one study of commercial truck drivers and drug and alcohol use, 50 percent of truckers rely on alcohol to cope with the stress of life on the road, while another 30 percent use stimulants to cope with the long hours. Another eight percent use cocaine for the same reason. When truckers do this, they put their own lives in danger, along with the lives of every other person they share the road with.

If you have been injured in an accident with a large truck or if a loved one has died from injuries they sustained in an accident with a large truck, you need to consult with a truck accident attorney. We have decades of experience helping people just like you get the compensation you deserve after the accident.