Large Truck Crashes Up Four Percent in One Year, NHTSA Reports

A truck accident on one February morning in 2015 caused serious injuries to a Virginia-based trucker, who is now suing a North Carolina truck company and its driver for negligence. truck

The West Virginia Record reports the personal injury lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, alleges the North Carolina driver was careless in the operation of his logging truck, causing several logs to eject from the trailer and spill onto the travel lanes. One of those logs was struck by the plaintiff, who says the logging trucker was speeding. He further alleges the trucking company that employed him was negligent in its failure to educate, train, audit, and supervise the driver operating its truck.

Large truck accidents are a problem everywhere in this country, and North Carolina is no exception. Recently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a report detailing crash statistics from coast-to-coast involving large trucks weighing 10,000 pounds or more. In looking at 2015 figures (the latest final numbers available), federal officials say there was a four percent uptick in large truck crashes that year as compared to 2014.

In all, there were 4,067 people who died in large truck accidents in 2015. There were also 116,000 people injured in these crashes, which also represents a four percent increase from the 111,000 people reported injured in such collisions in 2015.

Although the aforementioned crash involved two truckers, federal data shows 74 percent of people killed in large truck crashes were occupants of other vehicles, such as passenger cars and pickup trucks. The vast majority of these collisions – about 80 percent – happened on weekdays, reflecting the fact that workday commutes are often the most dangerous on our nation’s highways.

Truckers were less likely than occupants of passenger cars to have previous license suspensions or revocations. However, drivers of big rigs that were involved in fatal crashes had the highest number of previously recorded crashes, compared to drivers of other types of vehicles. The breakdown is as follows:

  • Large truck drivers – 20.1 percent
  • Motorcyclists – 18.1 percent
  • Passenger car drivers – 18.3 percent
  • Light truck drivers – 16.7 percent

This is partially indicative of the fact that large truck drivers tend to be on the road more than other types of motorists. Still, one cannot overlook the fact that this type of job is prone to certain kinds of unsafe driving behaviors or practices.

For example, large truck drivers are notorious for driving while extremely sleep-deprived. Despite federal hours of operation rules, many companies push drivers to get the goods to their destination as fast as possible. That puts a lot of pressure on truckers to keep moving and even to fudge the numbers. This is particularly true when truckers are independent contractors, as they often are these days, since the faster they get to their destination, the more jobs they complete and the more money they make.

The trucking industry is set up with drivers as independent contractors systematically to distance trucking companies from liability for driver negligence. However, aside from the fact that this makes it tougher for innocent victims to recover damages, it incentivizes truck drivers to operate their vehicles while tired and at excessive speeds, which contributes to the increase in truck accidents.

Contact the Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices by calling 800-887-1965.

Additional Resources:

Large Trucks, February 2017, NHTSA

More Blog Entries:

Per Person Limit Includes Loss of Consortium Claims, Court Rules, March 27, 2017, Charlotte Tractor-Trailer Accident Lawyer Blog

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