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Deadly Trucking Accidents on the Rise

A study released by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which oversees safety for commercial trucks across the country, reveals truckers remain lethal on our roads. Using 2017 data, the study concludes trucking operations continued a dangerous trend from the past year, with fatal crashes involving large trucks increasing.

The study defines a large truck as “a truck with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) greater than 10,000 pounds.” That includes trucks commonly known as:

  • 18-wheelers
  • Big rigs
  • Semi-trailers
  • Tractor-trailers
  • Dump trucks
  • Concrete mixer trucks
  • Many business or commercial trucks and vans, like UPS or FedEx delivery vans and trucks—even some landscaping company trucks

Before we address fatal crash statistics, know that the numbers for injuries from large truck accidents are even worse

Scary Facts on Deadly Trucking Wrecks

The study revealed some sobering statistics:

  • Fatal accidents have increased. In 2017, there were 4,237 fatal crashes involving large trucks. That’s an 8 percent increase from the prior year, up from 3,896.
  • Single-vehicle crashes are on the rise. While most fatal large truck wrecks involved two vehicles, single-vehicle crashes (including crashes that involved a bicyclist, pedestrian, non-motorized vehicle, etc.) made up 20 percent of all fatal crashes in 2017.
  • “Smaller” big trucks were involved in more deadly crashes, at an alarming pace. From 2015 to 2017, the number of trucks weighing 10,001 to 14,000 pounds in fatal accidents increased 225 percent, from 144 to 468.
  • Truckers are plenty safe, but ordinary car drivers are an endangered species. Eighty-two percent of deaths in large trucking wrecks were NOT occupants of the truck.
  • You’re really not safe on an isolated highway or a busier interstate. Fatal crashes involving large trucks often occur in rural areas and on Interstates, like I-85, I-385, and I-26. About 57 percent of these fatal crashes occurred in rural areas, 27 percent occurred on Interstates, and 13 percent fell into both categories by occurring on rural Interstate highways.
  • You should be afraid of the dark, but daytime’s worse. Thirty-five percent of all fatal crashes occurred at night, defined as 6:00 pm to 6:00 am. Of course, that creates the conclusion that 65 percent of these crashes occurred in daylight hours.
  • Weekends are safer. An astounding 83 percent of deadly accidents involving large trucks occurred Monday through Friday.
  • Beware the road work zone. In 2017, 30 percent of construction work zone fatal crashes and 12 percent of work zone injury crashes involved at least one large truck.

Fatal Trucking Accident Victims’ Families Don’t Have to Go it Alone

Losing a family member in an unexpected 18-wheeler crash is shocking and overwhelming enough. You’ve got vital rights to compensation you may truly need to continue supporting your family in the wake of a lost wage earner—and the legal system does provide rights to recover for the emotional loss of sharing your life with them.

The sad fact is, the trucker’s insurance company isn’t going to take care of your family any more than the careless trucker did. Don’t give up your one chance to do your case right when an insurance company that makes money by taking advantage of folks like you is on the other side.

Worse, these cases can be extremely complicated, starting with who to actually pursue legally. But these cases can offer a chance at higher compensation if you know what you’re doing. There are many good reasons to hire a legal professional to help your family, but the most important might just be knowing you’ve got a professional on your side who can level the playing field and handle the agonizing details you don’t want to relive while making sure you don’t get cheated.

You’ve got questions you need answered, and we’re here to do it. Call us toll-free at 888-230-1841 to schedule a free, no pressure strategy session or fill out a Get Help Now form and an experienced trucking accident attorney will answer your questions.

For more answers, check out our FREE BOOK on crash cases, which contains a chapter on tractor-trailer crashes and why they are different. If you want to know what it’s like to work with us, you can read these reviews by actual clients on a website we don’t own.

Rob Usry
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Rob is a Spartanburg personal injury lawyer. Rob also practices as a criminal defense attorney.