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Data reveals why so many people are dying in truck accidents

Fatal truck accident data confirms that truckers rarely die in crashes with passenger vehicles. Brake issues and fatigue cause many crashes.

Trucking accidents do not occur as often as accidents involving only passenger vehicles on the California roadways. However, these accidents are much more deadly due to the size, weight and ground clearance of the vehicles.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has recently released the national fatality data in large truck accidents, gathered from 2019.

Who is dying in truck accidents?

There were 4,119 fatalities in truck crashes in 2019, and the statistics show that truck drivers were usually survivors. Most of the truckers who died were in collisions involving two trucks. In two-vehicle collisions involving a truck and a passenger vehicle, 97% of the fatalities were passenger vehicle occupants.

Pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists made up 15% of the deaths: a total of 633 people.

Why are truck accidents happening?

Brake issues are often a problem. Braking under normal circumstances requires 20 to 40% more road than a car due to the weight, and an unbalanced or overloaded trailer or wet pavement makes coming to a full stop even more difficult. Poorly maintained brakes are also a factor in some crashes.

While many car accidents are alcohol-related, truckers are much less likely to be driving drunk. Laws prohibiting driving under the influence are stricter for truckers, and their jobs are at stake. However, fatigue-related crashes are a problem. According to research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the eye-hand coordination of a person who has been awake for 17 hours is the same as someone with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05%. After 24 hours of wakefulness, performance is similar to a BAC of 0.10%.

Why are truck drivers sleepy?

With the federal hours of service rules that limit truckers’ time on the road, why are they so fatigued? Trucking Info, an industry magazine, explains that even after driving the maximum 11 hours and working the full 14 hours the rules allow, the mandated 10 hours of “rest” may not give the trucker enough time to get good sleep. In fact, getting good sleep involves more than the time spent in a bed. A healthy diet and exercise are two things that truckers may have little or no access to, and they are crucial for healthy sleep.

In addition, truckers do not always follow the rules. Companies often pay by the mile, and sitting in traffic may ruin a day’s wages while also burning up the hours allowed. Companies also often put pressure on their drivers to keep to a schedule that does not allow for inclement weather or traffic.

Who is liable in a truck accident?

Frequently, the driver is not the only one liable. Liability may also include the mechanic who did not adequately service the brakes, the company that kept the trucker on the road or the person who stopped directly in front of the truck and caused a jackknifed trailer and a chain reaction.

Because there are so many variables, many people turn to a truck accident attorney to uncover all the parties who may be liable for their damages.