While all accidents can be deadly, accidents involving trucks are always especially serious due to the sheer size and weight of these vehicles. Unfortunately, studies show that 2017 was one of the worst years on record for fatalities caused by a truck accident. Below, we’ll take a look at these statistics, explore what might be behind this spike in truck accidents, and discuss what a truck accident attorney can do to help if you or someone you know has been involved in a truck accident.
Truck Accidents in 2017
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), deaths in truck-related accidents rose 16% from 2016 to 2017. In 2017, 841 people died in accidents involving trucks – up by 116 from the 2017 total of 725.
These are accidents that involve tractor-trailer trucks as well as accidents involving pickup trucks and other “straight trucks”, or trucks that are not a part of a tractor-trailer. To break down the numbers further by truck type, accidents involving tractor-trailer trucks were up 5.8% in 2017 while accidents involving straight trucks were up 18.7%.
Texas truck accidents were high in 2017 as well, with the DOT reporting a total of 1867 crashes involving trucks of all kinds in the state of Texas. Historically, Texas has led the nation in fatal truck accidents.
Factors Contributing to the Spike in Fatal Truck Accidents
The NHTSA did not provide any interpretation or analysis of the results they released showing a spike in truck accident fatalities. Duane DeBruyne, however, the spokesman for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, did provide one possible explanation for the increase in 2017, saying, “Because of the continuing strengthening of the economy, more vehicles, particularly commercial trucks – are traveling on the nation’s roadways.”
This is certainly a reasonable analysis. The trucking industry plays a major role in helping companies in almost every other industry transport their goods and products across the country. When the economy is performing better, more products are being shipped back and forth and therefore more trucks are on the road, leading to a natural spike in truck accidents.
As to the reason why the number of fatalities due to truck accidents rose, there is another data point of interest. According again to Duane DeBruyne, 40% of the fatalities from truck accidents that were recorded in 2017 were people who were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash. This is actually a little lower than the overall number of vehicle accident fatalities that involve a person who was not wearing a seatbelt, which is 47%. However, it’s still a significant metric and an important point to consider when evaluating what can be done to keep truck accidents from being fatal.
What You can do to Avoid Texas Truck Accidents
If you live and drive in the state of Texas, it’s naturally concerning to learn that Texas is one of the most dangerous states when it comes to truck accidents and truck accident fatalities. In order to avoid being involved in one of these accidents, there are a few important things to keep in mind.
First of all, always wear your seatbelt. The data mentioned in the previous section highlights just how important seatbelts are for keeping accidents from being fatal. Second, try to always keep as much distance between yourself and a large truck as possible. It’s never a good idea to follow behind a large truck too closely. It’s also never a good idea to have a large truck following you too closely, either, since large trucks are not able to stop as fast as smaller vehicles. While you can’t control how close a large truck follows you, you can try to put some distance between you and the truck if you are able to do so without going above the speed limit, since speeding increases your risk of an accident as well.
If you are passing a large truck, do so quickly, and don’t hang around in the lane beside them. Large trucks typically have a broader blind spot than most vehicles, increasing the chances that they may come over into your lane without realizing that you are there.
Lastly, by simply practicing safe driving protocols as well as defensive driving, you can help reduce the risk that you will be involved in any type of accident, including accidents involving trucks.
What to do if You are Involved in a Truck Accident
If you or someone you know has been injured in a truck accident, it is essential that you seek out a truck accident attorney who will be able to defend your rights and help you pursue the compensation that you deserve. Given the size and weight of large trucks, these accidents are especially serious and often lead to significant injuries or even death. Since it falls to the companies employing truck drivers and sending them out on the road to ensure that their drivers are safe and responsible at all times, it’s important to hold these companies accountable when one of their drivers causes a serious accident.
If you have been involved in a truck accident in the state of Texas and would like to learn more about your rights, we urge you to contact GOM Law today.