NHTSA stats underscore serious risk of injury in truck accidents

Truck drivers, trucking companies and other parties to the trucking industry all too often fail to comply with safety regulations established by the federal and state governments. When these violations occur, the lives of passenger vehicle occupants are put at risk. To underscore how devastating truck accidents can be, let’s consider some statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

For 2012, the NHTSA reported that truck accidents in the United States took the lives of 3,921 people and injured 104,000. Seventy-three percent of those who died were not in large trucks but in the other vehicles, while 18 percent of those who died were truck occupants. These numbers indicate how easily a collision with a large truck can result in catastrophe for occupants of cars, pickup trucks and other passenger vehicles.

While one would think that operating a large commercial truck with a heavy payload would make truck drivers especially careful not to speed or commit other traffic violations, the NHTSA statistics suggest otherwise. In 2012, of all of the large truck operators involved in fatal accidents, nearly 18 percent had been convicted of speeding at least once before. By comparison, nearly 17 percent of passenger vehicle drivers involved in fatal accidents had prior speeding convictions.

In addition to abiding by established traffic laws, truck drivers must also accurately record their hours of service, avoid fatigue, inspect and maintain their vehicles, and pass background checks and drug screenings. Likewise, the truck companies must properly maintain vehicles, ensure that work schedules don’t pressure drivers to commit violations, and make certain that drivers are screened and properly trained.

After a truck accident, multiple parties may be liable for a victim’s injuries. If you have been involved in such a crash, then it is a good idea to consult with a personal injury attorney with experience in investigating truck accidents and holding all responsible parties accountable.