Truck Accidents Are Surprisingly Common: What All Drivers Should Know

Trucks are typically professionally maintained vehicles that are driven by experienced, trained operators. Accordingly, it’s tempting to think that truck accidents are rare. But the reality is that truck accidents are probably more common than you think.

Why is this the case and what should other drivers know about the frequency of truck accidents?

Why Truck Accidents Are So Unique

Why do truck accidents deserve any special attention? Part of this dedicated exploration is motivated by the sheer size of these vehicles. Trucks are much larger and much heavier than other vehicles on the road, so they’re capable of doing more damage and causing more personal harm. 

Additionally, truck accidents tend to be legally complicated cases, since there are many parties involved, such as the driver, the trucking company, and the insurance company.

The Role of a Truck Accident Lawyer

Truck accident lawyers such as are indispensable for navigating these legally complicated accidents. Working with a truck accident lawyer, you can gather more evidence on what happened leading up to the accident, negotiate harder with insurance companies, and hopefully, win a better settlement. 

It can take months, and sometimes years to fully resolve a truck accident case, but as an end result, you could win the compensation you need to pay for all your medical expenses and make up for your lost income.

The Frequency of Truck Accidents

In 2021, there were approximately 5,788 deaths as a result of truck crashes. Currently, trucks account for 9 percent of all vehicles that are involved in fatal crashes, yet only 5 percent of all registered vehicles and 10 percent of total vehicle miles traveled. 

Statistically, if you look at registered vehicles, trucks are disproportionately likely to be involved in crashes. However, if you account for miles traveled, trucks perform about where we would expect. The reality is, truck accidents are common in part because they’re on the road so frequently; we need trucks to sustain daily life, and driving is an inherently risky activity, so even under perfect conditions, we would expect truck accidents to be relatively common.

Common Causes of Truck Accidents

What are the most common causes of truck accidents?

·       Fatigue/exhaustion. Truck drivers are sometimes responsible for carrying loads across the country. They have tight deadlines and hundreds, if not thousands of miles to drive. While safety regulations mandate that truckers take occasional breaks for sleeping and resting, many drivers still push themselves to the brink of fatigue and exhaustion. And you probably know from personal experience, being tired means you won’t be able to perform at your best.

·       Distractions. Distractions can also lead to truck accidents. Glancing down at your phone for even a few seconds can render a driver incapable of responding to a swerving vehicle in front of you. Trying to tackle a complex task like eating or responding to an email is even more dangerous. Unfortunately, many drivers, including professional truckers, neglect or underestimate this risk.

·       Intoxication. Impaired driving is dangerous for any driver, but it’s especially destructive when it affects the operation of a large commercial vehicle. While most truck drivers are perfectly responsible and capable of remaining sober at all times, there are some drivers who choose to operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or other impairing drugs.

·       Recklessness. Truck accidents occur because of recklessness as well. Truck drivers can sometimes ignore signs, drive too fast, take turns too sharply, or otherwise drive in an unsafe way. Most truck drivers are experienced enough and cautious enough to know better, but it only takes a small number of reckless truck drivers to push the statistics up.

·       Maintenance issues. Sometimes, truck accidents happen because of maintenance issues. If truck drivers or trucking companies fail to keep their vehicles in good operating condition, they can break down unexpectedly or cause issues on the road.

·       Bad weather/road conditions. Inclement weather and bad road conditions can also be problematic. These conditions aren’t easily controlled by the driver, but it’s important to exercise caution under these circumstances. Unfortunately, not all truck drivers take these extra precautions.

·       Cargo loading issues. Cargo loading issues, like overloading a truck or improperly securing cargo, can also lead to accidents.

Being more mindful of trucks in your vicinity and being a more cautious, defensive driver can both help you avoid truck accidents. However, as you can see from the list of common causes of traffic accidents, you can ascertain that only some variables are ever truly within your control. 

If you’re ever involved in an accident with a truck, remain calm, gather evidence, get the medical attention you need, file a police report, and then contact a truck accident lawyer as quickly as possible.