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How Common Are Truck Accidents?

May 17, 2022 - Truck Accidents by

It can be scary out there on the road, particularly with the increasing amount of large truck activity. Truck accidents happen more frequently than they should. As experienced Tuscaloosa truck accident lawyers, we’re here to help you.

Check Out the Statistics

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration estimates that 4 percent of registered vehicles are large trucks, representing about 10% of all vehicle miles traveled. Trucks and truck drivers are a critical part of our supply chain: it’s estimated that these vehicles carry about 70% of the goods we consume, from food to medical components to electronics.  The trucking industry is integral to our economy.

The National Safety Council (“NSC”), the country’s largest non-profit association that focuses on transportation safety, reported that 4,842 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes in the United States in 2020. Large trucks are defined as commercial or non-commercial vehicles with a gross vehicle rating greater than 10,000 pounds. That same year, 107,000 trucks were involved in non-fatal accidents that nonetheless resulted in injuries. 

Other statistics tracked by the NSC show that of fatal large truck accidents in 2020, slightly over half were in rural as opposed to urban areas; three-quarters were on non-interstate versus interstate roads, and 65% occurred in the daytime rather than at night. 

In Alabama, there were 138 heavy truck accidents involving 141 fatalities in 2020. Thirty of the fatalities were occupants of the truck, 101 were occupants of another vehicle (in most cases a car or light truck), and 10 were non-occupants, presumably bystanders. This represented approximately 3% of the country’s fatal truck accidents for that year. 

What Makes Truck Accidents So Common?

Truck accidents can be caused by many different circumstances and factors. According to the Alabama Department of Transportation’s 2019 report on vehicle crashes, the primary causes of truck-involved accidents in the state are:  

  • Improper lane change
  • Failure to yield right of way
  • An unseen object, person or vehicle
  • Tailgating
  • Misjudged stopping distance
  • Improper backing up
  • Defective equipment including brakes and mirrors

Weather is also often a factor in truck accidents. Driving in cold and/or rainy weather can cause poor visibility, slick driving conditions, and reduced vehicle performance, such as longer braking time.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has established a number of rules and regulations to reduce the risk of truck accidents and fatalities and injuries on the road. For drivers, these include:

  • Drug and alcohol testing
  • Limited driving hours, and
  • Regulations covering the proper securing of hazardous materials and cargo

Regulations to enhance truck safety cover such things as:

  • Brake systems
  • Wiring systems
  • Warning signals
  • Fuel systems

For trucks that operate exclusively within Alabama, the state has adopted standards that, in most but not all cases, are identical to the FMCSA’s rules. 

Despite the many levels of state and federal regulations covering driver and truck safety, truck accidents still happen too frequently. And often it’s difficult to figure out who should pay for damages. It could be the truck owner, the trucking company, the company that loaded the cargo, the truck manufacturer or distributor, or someone else. 

Let Our Tuscaloosa Truck Accident Attorneys Help

If you or someone you love has been injured in a truck accident, speak to one of our Tuscaloosa truck accident attorneys. We have the experience and know-how to ensure you are well-represented. Contact Cross and Smith today at 877-791-0618 or via our contact page.

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