To answer this question, we need to hop in the way back machine and go back to high school. As if that thought was not scary enough, we are headed back to science class. Thankfully, we do not need to go too deep into the science to get a basic understanding of why these accidents are so deadly. These crashes involve vehicles that often weigh well over 10,000 pounds. This is significantly more than the average passenger vehicle.
While in that high school science class, our teachers likely tried to teach us that an object in motion tends to stay in motion unless acted on by another force. When we apply this basic rule to trucking accidents, that force is stopped by two things: the truck’s brakes and whatever is in its way. If the object in its way is your car, the force transfers to you, the driver and passengers within the vehicle.
Why should we worry about these accidents?
As if the fact that these accidents transfer massive amounts of destructive force to the people in the passenger vehicle was not enough, trucking accidents are one the rise. The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that these often tragic accidents have almost doubled over the last decade. This translates to more than 5,700 fatal trucking accidents in 2021 alone.
What are common causes of truck crashes?
These accidents can happen on rural roadways and urban highways, in daylight and at night, in construction zones and on perfectly smooth well-maintained roads. They can happen pretty much anywhere. But why? Common causes can include:
- Driver error. Distraction, exhaustion, and poor decision making are all common factors that contribute to these accidents. Researchers with the NSC note that these errors contribute to the vast majority of crashes — approximately 87%.
- Poor maintenance. Vehicle issues can also pose a problem. A brake failure or blown tire can lead to a crash. Mechanical problems are responsible for approximately 10% of accidents.
- Bad conditions. Other causes include hitting a patch of ice, getting caught in a downpour of rain, or other environmental factors. These issues contribute to approximately 3% of crashes.
It is important to note that the first cause, driver error, also likely includes bad decisions related to conditions.
What if a trucking accident killed a family member?
Those who lose a loved one in a catastrophic trucking accident can likely hold the truck driver and the company responsible through a civil suit. This can result in more than just compensation to help cover the costs resulting from the crash, it can make a point. It can show the trucking company that they need to drive with care or else we will hold them accountable.