Each year, millions of Americans are killed or injured in traffic accidents all across the United States. In 2012 alone, 21,667 passengers in vehicles lost their lives in these crash, and more than 2 million were injured. Unfortunately, not all of these crashes involve passengers vehicles. Small cars and SUVs also share the road with motorcycles, cyclists, and, of course, semi trucks.
In 2012, semi truck accidents killed 3,921 people, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Additionally, 104,000 people were injured in these incidents. The number of these incidents averages out to about 11 per day. While these numbers represent a small portion of the total number of accidents for the year, these numbers had increased from previous years — even 2011. Perhaps most tragically of all, there are many preventable factors that lead to these injuries and deaths.
How have recent truck accidents been caused? A quick glance at the news will paint a somewhat accurate picture of how even the most recent truck accidents point to larger trends in U.S. traffic accidents. Here are a few common causes for these collisions and fatal truck accidents:
- Improper safety features: According to the American Trucking Association, only one-tenth of all trucks on the road have some kind of active safety technology on board. In other words, these trucks may not have proper brake systems or other advanced features. That spells bad news for the other drivers on the road and the drivers of the trucks themselves.
- Overworked truck drivers: To deliver items all across the continent, many truckers find that they have very short deadlines to travel very long distances. As a result, they may become tired while driving if they haven’t had a full night’s rest.
- Drug or alcohol use: Because some drivers have to make deadlines, they may rely on stimulants to keep awake. Others, however, may drink alcohol despite knowing the warnings against drinking and driving. The use of drugs or alcohol can significantly increase the likelihood of a crash, so those who have been in recent truck accidents may ask, “Am I a victim of DUI?” Truck accident victims should be sure to call an auto accident attorney as soon as possible if drugs or alcoholic drinks were involved in their collisions.
- Unsafe driving by passenger vehicles: Finally, not all trucking accidents are the fault of the truck drivers. Some vehicles don’t maintain their proper distance when they are near semi trucks. Passenger vehicle drivers need to remember that if they can’t see the mirrors on a truck, the truck driver can’t see that vehicle. All drivers on the road need to use caution behind the wheel, no matter which size vehicle they operate.
No matter which type of accident has occurred or who may have been at fault, it is important for all drivers to ensure that they are protected. Drivers should check with their insurance companies to find out what coverage they have. If need be, they should also hire truck accident law firms to handle their cases. Have more questions about these types of accidents? Speak with an attorney or leave a comment below.