Deaths in Large Truck Crashes Are Increasing – Here’s Why…

Deaths in Large Truck Crashes Are Increasing - Here's Why…

Fatalities from accidents with tractor trailers have been climbing in the United States. In 2021, there were 5,788 people killed nationwide in traffic crashes involving large trucks.  This is an increase of 17% from the 4,945 killed in 2020, according to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  About 72% of people killed in collisions with semi-trailers were occupants of the other vehicles.  This is usually because 18-wheelers are much larger and heavier than cars.

About 78% of fatal crashes with large trucks happened on weekdays between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.  Three percent of the drivers of large trucks involved in deadly collisions had blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) of 0.08 grams per deciliter or higher, significantly beyond the legal limit for commercial drivers.  California Vehicle Code 23152(a) VC makes it a crime to drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, and Vehicle Code 23152(d) states that a commercial driver cannot have a BAC of 0.04% or higher.

More than 20% of drivers of large trucks in fatal accidents in 2021 had previously reported crashes on their records – noticeably higher than previously recorded crashes for drivers of other vehicle types like motorcycles (19.9%), passenger cars (18.2%), and light trucks (17.2%).

If your loved one has been killed in a collision with a semi-tractor trailer, a truck accident lawyer at Neale & Fhima can fight for your right to financial compensation.  This won’t bring your loved one back, but it can provide financial resources for surviving family members who have suffered the tragedy of a wrongful death.

Here’s Why Large Truck Crashes Lead to Fatalities

The NHTSA found that advanced safety features, such as forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking systems, are reducing the number of crashes in passenger vehicles. This includes a decrease in rear-end collisions.

Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), such as automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot warning systems, and camera-based mirrors are becoming more common in new 18-wheelers, but ADAS are often missing from large trucks still on the road that are more than 10 years old.  These older trucks were manufactured before the new technology was invented.

The sad thing is that many of the serious crashes with big rigs and other commercial vehicles could be prevented if more trucks had safety systems on board. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety states that 107,000 crashes in the U.S. each year, including approximately 28% of those that involve commercial vehicles, could have been prevented or reduced with collision prevention systems.  Big rigs can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds when fully loaded, compared to cars that weigh about 4,000 pounds and motorcycles that weigh about 300 to 500 pounds.  It’s not hard to see why the consequences of a crash with a commercial truck can be devastating.

Many industry experts and safety advocates, such as Consumer Reports, argue that tractor trailer manufacturers need to immediately speed up adding essential safety systems to older large trucks.  Naturally, some trucking companies and organizations are resistant to updating equipment due to the cost. They also resist government mandates.

Truckers sometimes argue that while they favor more safety systems on their trucks, new technology will never substitute for skilled drivers.  There is some truth behind the idea that better drivers create safer roads. More than 90% of all crashes on U.S. roads are caused by driver error; and younger, more inexperienced truck drivers cause a disproportionate number of commercial truck collisions.

Who Can Be Held Liable for Truck Accident Victims’ Losses?

A skilled and experienced truck accident lawyer can investigate the cause of a big-rig collision, and this information can determine who is at fault for a serious injury or death.  One or several parties could be to blame.  These parties can include:

  • The Truck Driver – Truck drivers frequently make mistakes that lead to major collisions. Texting, drinking (where you may need a drunk driving lawyer), using drugs and falling asleep behind the wheel are all among the most common causes of truck accidents in California and nationwide. Speeding, tailgating, failing to yield, and merging into approaching vehicles are all common forms of truck driver negligence, as well. If you’ve been involved in a truck accident and need legal assistance, consider reaching out to an experienced vehicle accident lawyer to protect your rights and seek compensation.
  • The Trucking Company – Trucking companies can be held financially responsible for their drivers’ mistakes, and in truck accident cases, they will frequently be liable for their own negligence. Hiring untrained drivers, forcing drivers to spend too many hours behind the wheel, overloading trucks, and failing to properly maintain their fleets are just some of the many trucking company mistakes that can lead to claims for compensation.
  • Repair and Maintenance Shops – Repairing and maintaining large commercial trucks requires special training and expertise. In some cases, shops that perform faulty brake jobs or otherwise fail to meet the appropriate standard of care can be held liable for victims’ injuries.
  • Vehicle Manufacturers – Sometimes, it isn’t a faulty repair job that is the problem, but rather an issue with the truck itself. Defects in tires, electrical systems, engine parts, tie straps, and other components can all lead to serious truck accidents.

In an Accident with a Tractor Trailer? Contact Neale & Fhima Today.

Crashes with tractor trailers can result in horrifying injuries and, often, death. If you or your loved one was hurt by a tractor trailer driver, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit for compensation. The attorneys at Neale & Fhima can help you to obtain compensation from the truck driver and/or trucking company. Please contact our law offices today for a free legal consultation.  Call 888-407-2955.

Attorney Aaron Fhima

Aaron Fhima, California attorneyAaron Fhima is a trial attorney who has secured numerous settlements and verdicts against large corporations and some of the largest auto manufacturers in the world. Representing consumers and injury victims throughout the state of California, Aaron’s practice areas include personal injury, and lemon law litigation. Aaron has a long record of success taking on large defense firms; and he doesn’t hesitate to take cases to trial when necessary to enforce his clients’ rights. [ Attorney Bio ]