By, Richard P. Hastings, Connecticut Truck Accident Attorney
Motor vehicle accidents involving a commercial truck and a passenger vehicle usually culminates in serious injuries, if not fatalities, to occupants of the passenger vehicle.
The Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports there were 7,006,408 commercial freight vehicles, 5,264,554 single-unit trucks and 1,741,854 tractors, for a total of in excess of 14,000,000 trucks on U.S. highways in 2007.
Data compiled by the Fatality Analysis Reporting System and Motor Carrier Management Information System reveal there were a total of 195,767 large truck crashes in 2007. Of these, 4,368 were fatal crashes, 136,438 non-fatal crashes and 54,961 injury crashes. The number of injuries reported was 80,752.
The initial points of impact, in descending order, were the front (45.7%), rear (15%), left side (8.4%), right side (4.8%) and other or unknown (0.8%).
Large truck fatal accidents mostly happen in rural areas (68%) on weekdays (78%) during daytime hours (66%). Combination trucks were responsible for 76% of fatal crashes. Additionally, large trucks are more likely to be involved in fatal multi-vehicle crashes.
Of injuries sustained or deaths occurring as a result of collisions with large trucks, 65% were drivers of passenger vehicles, 31% were passengers; 3% were pedestrians and 2% were cyclists.
A list of common causes of truck accidents includes:
• Driving at unsafe speeds due to weather or road conditions
• Failure to yield the right of way
• Aggressive driving
• Driving off the road
• Backing up
• Inadequate training or unlicensed driver
• Drug or alcohol use
• Driver fatigue
• Disobeying safety procedures
• Overweight loads
• Improper loading or shifting of load
• Motor vehicle inspection failure
• Repair or maintenance failure
• Mechanical or brake failure
• Tire blow-outs