Numbers or statistics can help us better understand facts and trends. Similarly, truck accident statistics help shed light on the causes and circumstances of these incidents that cause hundreds of deaths, thousands of injuries and millions of dollars in property damage each year in the United States. Truck accident statistics help highlight the remarkable differences between accidents involving cars and those involving large, heavy trucks that could weigh up to 80,000 pounds. Their size and weight make them all the more dangerous.
The experienced Pennsylvania truck accident lawyers at KaplunMarx PLLC have compiled data and facts related to truck accidents from federal and state databases to help you better understand the severity and magnitude of these accidents. If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, our knowledgeable legal team can help you better understand your rights and options.
How Big is the Trucking Industry?
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there were 31.4 million large trucks registered and used for business purposes in the United States in 2014, representing 23.3 percent of all trucks registered. Registered trucks traveled about 279.1 billion miles in 2014. As of May 2015, the number of for-hire carrier on file with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) totaled 586,014. Private carriers added up to 747,781 and other interstate motor carriers totaled 144,170. About 3.5 million truck drivers were employed in 2015 compared to 3.4 million in 2014.
Trends in Truck Accidents
The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that there was an increase in fatal crashes in 2015. During that year 4,311 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes, representing a 26 percent increase from its low of 3,432 in 2009. The number of injury crashes involving large trucks decreases steadily from 89,000 in 2005 to 60,000 in 2009. But that was followed by a significant increase of 62 percent from 2009 to 2015.
The number of large trucks involved in fatal crashes increased by 8 percent, from 3,749 in 2014 to 4,050 in 2015 and the large truck involvement rate (trucks involved in fatal crashes per 100 million miles traveled) increased by 8 percent. The number of large trucks involved in injury crashes decreased slightly from 88,000 in 2014 to 87,000 in 2015.
Here are some of the other highlights involving truck accident statistics in 2015:
- The majority of fatal large truck crashes – about 64 percent – involved two vehicles. Single-vehicle crashes made up 20 percent of all fatal truck accidents.
- About 60 percent of all fatal crashes involving large trucks occurred on rural roads and 25 percent on rural or urban Interstate highways.
- 35 percent of all fatal crashes and 21 percent of all injury crashes involving large trucks occurred at night (between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.)
- A vast majority of fatal crashes (83 percent) and nonfatal crashes (89 percent) involving large trucks occurred on weekdays.
- 27 percent of work zone fatal crashes and 11 percent of work zone injury crashes involved at least one large truck.
- There were 11.2 fatal large truck crashes per million people in the United States in 2015, a 6 percent increase from 2010.
Pennsylvania Truck Accident Statistics
The increase in truck accidents nationwide was also reflected in Pennsylvania. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, total crashes involving large trucks in 2015 were the highest since the year 2012. In 2016, there were 6,740 crashes involving large trucks compared to 6,916 in 2015. However fatal injury crashes in 2016 were higher (139) compared to 2015 (130).
The vast majority of primary factors in heavy truck vehicle failure crashes were related to tires and wheels, brakes, power train failure and total steering system failure. About 27.5 percent of truck accidents occurred on state or interstate highways; 55.1 percent occurred on state highways, 7.3 percent on turnpikes and 10.2 percent on local roadways. In 2016, only 2.2 percent of crash fatalities involved heavy truck occupants.
What Causes Truck Accidents?
A report by the U.S. Department of Transportation about the causes of large truck accidents determined that alcohol and drugs only accounted for about 3 percent of truck accidents in the United States. Some of the most common causes of truck accidents include prescription drug use, excessive speed or unsafe rate of speed, over-the-counter drug use and fatigue. As Pennsylvania truck accident attorneys, we often see that distracted driving and reckless driving such as making unsafe lane changes and following too closely causes a number of major injury truck accidents.
If You Are Injured in a Crash
If you are injured in a truck accident in Pennsylvania, there are a number of steps you can take in order to protect your legal rights. Follow any and all truck accident laws. File a police report and be sure to obtain a copy of the report for your records. Get medical attention for your injuries whether or not the injuries are apparent. A number of truck accident injuries may not surface until after several weeks of the crash. Get the treatment and care you need and follow your doctor’s orders.
Get as much information and evidence from the scene as possible. Get the name, license, insurance, and vehicle information for the truck driver. Get the name and insurance information for the trucking company or the truck’s owner. Take photos of the accident scene including the position of the vehicles, damage to the vehicles, your injuries, etc. Get contact information for anyone who may have witnessed the incident. Save all receipts and invoices connected with the accident and your injuries.
Contact and experienced Pennsylvania truck accident lawyer who will remain on your side, fight for your rights and help ensure that you receive maximum compensation for your losses. At KaplunMarx PLLC, we help build a solid case by compiling critical evidence and conducting a thorough independent investigation. Trucking companies have powerful insurance corporations on their side. Their representatives show up at the scene soon after a crash working to collect evidence that will benefit them. Our attorneys will look out for your best interest and help protect your rights every step of the way. Call our law offices for a no-cost consultation and case evaluation.