Fatal commercial vehicles accidents are on the rise across the nation. According to cumulative data compiled by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 10 percent of all highway deaths in the United States involve large trucks.
Recent statistics from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) underscore the prevalence of big rig collisions and some of the most common reasons why heavily-loaded tractor trailers are involved in accidents.
- 22 percent more Americans were killed in large truck accidents in 2015 compared to 2009
- 3,852 people died in accidents involving big rigs, 18 wheelers or large commercial vehicles in 2015
- 69 percent of 2015 truck fatalities were occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles, while 15 percent were motorcyclists, pedestrians or bicyclists
- In 2015, 64 percent of all fatal vehicle accidents in Louisiana involved tractor trailers
The average semi truck weighs nearly 30 times as much as passenger vehicle, making smaller cars and their occupants particularly vulnerable to catastrophic harm in the event of a collision. In order to identify risk factors and reduce highway deaths, the FMCSA conducted a Large Truck Crash Causation Study, which shed light on some of the leading causes of these life-altering accidents.
3 common causes of truck accidents
Traffic safety officials looked at data from 967 commercial vehicle accidents, finding that poor driver decisions and reckless behavior was a contributing factor in the majority of crashes.
- Substance abuse – According to the data, use of prescription medications was a contributing factor in 26.3 percent of the truck accidents. By contrast, only 17.3 percent of crashes were attributed to over-the-counter drug use.
- Aggressive behavior/driving too fast for conditions – In almost 23 percent of the large truck accidents, truck operators were driving at unsafe speeds. Reckless and aggressive driving behaviors such as tail gaiting caused more than 6 percent of accidents.
- Driver fatigue or distraction – 13 percent of the accidents were caused by fatigue or drowsiness. Surveys indicate that many truck drivers violate FMCSA “hours of service” ( the number of consecutive driving hours allowed between rest periods)in order to meet tight deadlines. Distracted driving or truck driver inattention played a role in 8.5 percent of the crashes studied.
The causation study found that more than a quarter of all large truck accidents involved vehicle problems, including equipment malfunction or brake failure. In some of these scenarios, liability could be attributed to poor maintenance, defective vehicle parts, improper loading or even unsafe driving behaviors.
Legal assistance after a truck accident in Louisiana
These statistics and findings suggest that many commercial vehicle accidents are caused by poor decisions or wrongdoing, and completely preventable. When truck drivers or their employers are negligent in their duties and serious personal injury results, victims have a right to seek compensation. If you or someone you love were harmed in a truck accident in Louisiana, attorney Bart Bernard has the experience, resources and skill to demand justice from liable parties. Plaintiffs can seek monetary damages to account for lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, medical expenses, rehabilitation and ongoing care costs.
To learn more about your legal remedies and rights, speak to a Louisiana truck accident lawyer with a proven track record. There is no fee unless we win or settle your claim! Call today to schedule a free consultation in Lafayette or Baton Rouge.
Additional Louisiana Truck Accident Resources:
- Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Large Trucks Fatality Facts http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/large-trucks/fatalityfacts/large-trucks
- FMCSA, The Large Truck Crash Causation Study https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/research-and-analysis/large-truck-crash-causation-study-analysis-brief
- FMCSA, Truck Hours of Service https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/hours-of-service