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How Common Are Truck Accidents Today?

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With the increase in online shopping since the global pandemic, commercial truck traffic has increased significantly on the nation’s roadways, along with a corresponding increase in truck crashes. In 2021, the number of large trucks involved in fatal traffic accidents in the U.S. increased by 18% from 2020 to 5,700, as the National Safety Council (NSC) reported. This number represents an increase of 49% in the previous decade. That same year, 117,300 trucks were involved in crashes that caused injuries. According to NSC’s data details, Iowa and Nebraska were the two states in 2021 with the highest percentage of fatal truck accidents, at 16%.

Who Is More Likely to Be Injured in a Large Truck Crash?

Because of the sheer size and weight of these vehicles, passenger vehicle occupants, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians are likely to be seriously or fatally injured in a collision with a semi tractor-trailer. NSC reports that nationwide, 5,788 people were killed in truck accidents in 2021, representing an increase of 17% from 2020. Of those traffic deaths:

  • 72% were occupants of other vehicles;
  • 17% were non-occupants (bicyclists and pedestrians); and
  • 17% were occupants of large trucks.

How Do Most Truck Accidents Happen?

Many truck accidents are caused by some type of negligence on the part of the truck driver and/or the trucking company. Leading factors contributing to large truck crashes include:

  • Trucker error: Truck drivers cause accidents in many ways, including driving fatigued and falling asleep at the wheel, driving distracted, driving too fast for conditions, following too closely, misjudging the speed of other vehicles, overcompensating, braking improperly on downgrades, failing to carefully check blind spots before changing lanes, and taking turns too fast.
  • Inexperienced and insufficiently trained drivers: With more commercial trucks than ever on the road today, the nation is experiencing a shortage of 80,000 truck drivers, as stated on CBS News. Trucking companies are hiring more drivers who lack experience on the road. Driver training takes approximately four weeks full-time, after which a driver can get behind the wheel of a big rig. The first year of driving a truck is the riskiest in terms of crash rates, as reported by NSC.
  • Mechanical failure: Under Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations, trucking companies are required to regularly inspect, maintain, and repair their vehicles. When they cut corners, equipment failure can lead to deadly truck accidents. Common mechanical problems with large trucks include faulty brakes, worn or improperly inflated tires, missing or defective underride rails, and improperly loaded cargo.
  • Drug-impaired driving: In a 2019 study published in the Journal of Preventive Medicine and Hygiene (JPMH), researchers found that 27.6% of truck drivers use psychoactive substances such as amphetamines (21.3%) and cocaine (2.2%). Driving under the influence of drugs can significantly increase the risk of a truck accident.
  • Pressure from employers: Trucking companies focused on meeting delivery deadlines may set unrealistic schedules, leading to driver stress and fatigue. FMCSA hours of service regulations are designed to help prevent fatigued driving and reduce the risk of truck crashes.

Who Is Liable for Truck Accidents in Mt. Pleasant?

Iowa is an at-fault state for traffic crashes, meaning the driver who caused the accident can be held financially liable for resulting injuries. There may be multiple potentially liable parties for a large truck crash, including the truck driver, the trucking company, parts manufacturers, and other parties.

  • A trucker whose negligent actions (such as speeding, tailgating, distracted driving, or drug-impaired driving) caused or contributed to the crash may be held liable.
  • The trucking company may be liable if it was negligent in hiring the driver, setting unrealistic delivery deadlines, failing to properly inspect and maintain the vehicle, or in other ways that contributed to the crash.
  • A manufacturer of a faulty vehicle or part may be liable if mechanical failure caused or contributed to a truck accident.

How Is Liability Established After a Serious Large Truck Crash?

If you have been injured in a truck accident, consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Our firm can conduct a thorough investigation of the crash to determine fault and liability and to secure evidence to support your claim. The truck’s “black box” is an onboard electronic recording device that can provide a wealth of information that may show how the accident occurred. It can provide information about the driver’s hours on the road, the vehicle’s speed, and other driving behavior that may help your attorney prove liability for the crash. Other data may be collected from the police accident report, eyewitness statements, photographs taken at the scene, video footage, FMCSA records, truck inspection and repair records, the truck driver’s file, and other sources.

Why Choose Cornell Injury Law for a Truck Accident in Mt. Pleasant?

Founding attorney Danny Cornell is a seasoned trial lawyer with more than 30 years of experience who goes to battle for his clients. We are dedicated legal advocates committed to making the experience easy and painless while aggressively pursuing the maximum compensation available for your losses. We offer a free consultation with no obligation. If you or your loved one has been hurt in a collision with a large commercial truck, call us today at 319-946-4019.

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