Trucks are considered common carriers that transport everyday goods, which means their drivers — and the companies who employ them — are required to operate at a higher standard of care. This means they often have lower thresholds for liability because the law mandates it. But what about just the simple duty of care when driving next to innocent individuals just trying to make it to work, school, or home to their families?
Unfortunately, because of the commercial nature of the trucking industry, many drivers are more concerned with getting their freight from point A to point B rather than other peoples’ safety. If any party is found to be neglectful in their duty to innocent, everyday individuals out on the road, they should be held accountable for any injuries or property damage they cause.
The Reality of Truck Crashes
With a gross vehicle weight greater than 10,000 pounds, trucks can weigh as much as 20 to 30 times more than your average car. Even worse, when the trailer is fully loaded, it takes 20-40 percent farther to make a complete stop; this discrepancy is even greater on slippery or wet roads or with poorly maintained brakes. Due to their sheer size and weight, truck accidents involving these behemoths of the road can be catastrophic and the injuries may be long-lasting.
Put simply, the bigger the wheels, the bigger the consequences. Just take a look at the numbers…
Missouri Truck Accident Statistics
- 367 car occupants died compared to 22 truck occupants***
- Since 1997, there have been a total of 273,598 accidents involving a commercial vehicle (an average of 15,200 per year)*
- Since 2005:
- 24,803 personal injury truck crashes occurred (average of 2,480 per year)*
- 39,366 people injured (average of 3,936 per year)*
- 1322 people killed (average of 132 per year)*
U.S. Truck Crash Statistics
Large trucks are defined as any medium or heavy truck that can be used for commercial and non-commercial purposes (not including buses and motorhomes).
- There were 450,000 police-reported crashes involving large trucks altogether**
- 4,889 large trucks and buses were involved in fatal crashes**
- There were 344,000 injury crashes**
- There were 13 fatal large truck crashes per million people**
- 82 percent of fatalities were not occupants of the large truck**
- Large trucks account for:***
- 9 percent of all vehicles involved in fatal crashes
- 4 percent of all registered vehicles
- 9 percent of total vehicle miles traveled
- Deaths in crashes involving large trucks since 1975:***
- 212,958 altogether
- Average of 4,839 per year
- Crashes involving large trucks since 2009:***
- 40 percent increase in the number of fatal crashes
- 62 percent increase in injury crashes
Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer | The Hayden Law Firm
Where Do Truck Accidents Happen?
While most accidents occur on roads where a truck has to maneuver around small cars and narrow roads, the most serious truck wrecks happen on interstates where large trucks are traveling at 60+ mph. The stopping distance mixed with the size of the freight can be a deadly combination for the passengers who have to share the road with them.
- 52 percent of deaths occurred on major roads other than interstates and freeways***
- 33 percent percent occurred on interstates and freeways***
- 14 percent percent occurred on minor roads***
- Altogether, 5 percent happened in construction zones***
When Do Truck Accidents Occur?
A truck accident can happen at any point — often when you least suspect it — but here are the most common hours, days, and months for truck wrecks in the U.S.
- 64 percent of the crashes happened during daylight hours***
- 50 percent of large truck crash deaths occurred from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., compared with 30 percent of crash deaths not involving large trucks***
- 83 percent of crashes involving large trucks occurred on weekdays**
- 16 percent of large truck crash deaths occurred on Saturday and Sunday, compared with 34 percent of crash deaths not involving large trucks***
- The peak month for fatal truck crashes was October. The month of April had the fewest crashes***
How Do Truck Accidents Happen?
There are many reasons for how a truck accident happens. Some of the biggest causes include drunk driving and driver fatigue. For example, truck drivers are allowed to drive up to an 11 hour stretch according to federal hours-of-service regulations, but surveys indicate that many drivers violate the regulations and work longer than permitted. This can result in many different types of accidents, with rollovers being one of the most common.
- Overturn (rollover) was the first harmful event in 4 percent of all fatal crashes involving large trucks**
- 3 percent of fatally injured large truck drivers in 2018 had BACs at or above 0.08 percent***
Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts 2017
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)
Missouri Highway Patrol