Prevalence of Trucking Accidents
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), fatal truck accidents are more common than many are aware of. An estimated
eleven fatal crashes occur on a daily basis in the U.S., killing nearly
4,000 individuals—and injuring over 100,000 people—each year.
Since 2009, these fatalities have steadily risen in response to an upsurge
in goods being shipped on U.S. highways, coupled with increasingly unrealistic
delivery schedules. In fact, in the past two years alone, the number of
trucking accidents has increased 20 percent. However, because trucking accident fatalities
occur throughout the country in relatively small quantities, they don’t
attract national attention as other accidents—such as plane crashes—do.
The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that
truck traffic through Montana accounts for 14 percent of the state’s annual average daily amount,
with the greatest amount of truck traffic on Interstate 90 between Billings
and the Idaho border.
Causes of Trucking Accidents
Causes of trucking accidents include inadequate training, driver fatigue,
compensation systems which encourage driving at quicker and unsafe speeds,
malfunctioning or unsafe vehicles, risky inclement weather driving, unrealistic
pickup and delivery schedules, companies' failure to screen for potentially
problematic drivers, improper loading, driver distraction, or driving
while under the influence.
In many cases, however, passenger vehicles provide the impetus for such
accidents. Common unsafe passenger car driver actions include driving
in those areas next to and behind commercial trucks where the driver has
limited visibility, abruptly changing lanes or merging into traffic in
front of a truck causing it to brake quickly or maneuver, failure to adjust
one’s speed when trucks change lanes or merge into traffic, unsafe
passing, driving between large trucks, misjudging an approaching truck’s
speed at an intersection, or driving while under the influence.
Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Title 49 governs the trucking industry and sets standards and regulations for trucking
companies, drivers, and owners, while also providing guidelines for determining
liability in the case of an accident. The U.S. Department of Transportation
(DOT) and the FMCSA oversee these regulations, in addition to state departments
of transportation. In cases of trucking accidents not caused by passenger
vehicles, legal responsibility and liability can attach to the driver,
the truck’s owner, the vehicle manufacturer, the company that leased
the truck, and/or the loader of the truck’s cargo.
If you are the victim of a trucking accident or would like more information, please