Because they are so much bigger and heavier than other vehicles on the road, large trucks are potentially more dangerous than passenger cars. An accident that might be relatively minor if had happened between two sedans can easily lead to serious injury or fatalities if one of the vehicles is a semitrailer.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration closely monitors statistics in truck and bus accidents, looking for trends and clues about how to prevent accidents and keep people safe. In a recently released study, the FMCSA found a disturbing trend: In 2017, 4,657 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes, representing a 10% increase from the year before. Another measure known as the large truck involvement rate, which is the number of large trucks involved in fatal crashes per 100 million miles traveled by large trucks, rose by 6%. The 2017 statistics represent the most recent available.
The study also tracked fatal bus accidents and found that bus crashes decreased over the same time period. There could be many reasons for a rise in fatal truck crashes, but it is disturbing to note that the increase comes after several years of declining fatality rates in these accidents.
Large truck crashes lead to complicated legal issues. As with other motor vehicle accidents, a person injured in a truck crash caused by another driver's negligence may seek compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. In the event of a fatal accident, the victim's immediate family may pursue compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit.
Typically, the defendant in these cases is the driver who caused the accident. However, in accidents caused by truck drivers, other parties, such as the driver's employer, may be held liable. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, state and federal trucking regulations may come into play, as well.
People who have been injured, or lost a loved one, in a truck accident can talk to a lawyer with experience in this difficult area of the law. An experienced personal injury attorney can advise them on their options.