Collisions with large commercial vehicles change people's lives in ways they never could have imagined. Suddenly a person seriously injured in a truck accident needs major medical treatment and perhaps is unable to work. If the victim normally contributes to a household income, then the financial damage of the crash may extend to the entire family. All of these problems are in addition to the pain and suffering experienced by the injured person.
The trucking industry is heavily regulated to protect occupants of smaller vehicles. A car or a light truck doesn't stand a chance against the speed and mass of a tractor trailer, and people in passenger vehicles almost always suffer injuries in crashes with large trucks. With these issues in mind, let's consider some of the most recent truck accident statistics reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
In 2012, the last year for which the NHTSA has complete data, about 104,000 people in the U.S. suffered injuries in collisions with large trucks; 3,921 people died in truck accidents; and of those who died, 73 percent were in vehicles other than large trucks.
Similar statistics were reported for 2011, though 2012 saw an 18 percent increase in the number of people who were injured in truck accidents.
The numbers may be difficult to fathom. The reality, though, is that truck driver fatigue, reckless driving, speeding and distracted driving cause far too many truck accidents. To combat these threats to other motorists and truck drivers themselves, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has established rules and regulations regarding truck drivers' hours of service, proper loading and maintenance of trucks, and minimum insurance coverage in the trucking industry.
However, these rules are often violated, and the current insurance minimums may not cover the full cost of the injuries suffered by occupants of smaller vehicles.
For anyone who would like to learn more about holding truck drivers and trucking companies accountable, our motor vehicle accident overview has additional information.
Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "Traffic Safety Facts: 2012 Data," Accessed Aug. 22, 2014