Large commercial trucks pose a greater liability to others on the road due to their size and weight. With a fully-loaded trailer, they can weigh as much as 80,000 lbs. and cause massive damage in a single crash. That's why truck drivers and the companies that employ them are held to a high standard in terms of state and federal safety regulations.
While overall traffic fatalities across the United States have dropped consistently over the last few years, truck crash fatalities have not, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
National data shows a slight increase in truck fatalities
Recent preliminary data released by the NHTSA shows that overall traffic fatalities in 2019 were approximately 36,120. This marked a decline of 1.2 percent from 36,560 in 2018. Truck crash fatalities, on the other hand, went up by one percent during the same period.
Past research found a 0.9 percent increase in the prior year's vehicle deaths in 2018 — when electronic logging devices became required on all trucking fleets.
Truck crash fatalities have steadily risen over the last few years
In January 2020, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced that it would release its Large Truck Crash Causal Factors Study.
The FMCSA identified a 5.7 percent increase in truck crash fatalities from 2016-2018. The purpose of the Large Truck Crash Causal Factors Study seeks to find out which factors are leading to the increase in truck fatalities.
Causes of large truck fatalities
Some leading causes of large truck crashes and fatalities include:
- Drowsy driving caused by lack of sleep and undiagnosed sleep disorders
- Distracted driving, including the use of handheld devices and multitasking
- Drunk and drugged driving
- Speeding and aggressive driving
Truck accident fatalities in Ohio
According to NHTSA yearly state crash data, approximately 27 out of 1,068 traffic fatalities across Ohio involved a large commercial truck (accounting for 3 percent). This marks a major increase from 18 in 2017. The data for 2019 has yet to be released.
What are my legal options if I was involved in a truck accident?
You or a loved one was involved in a crash with a large commercial truck. You are likely up against a well-funded trucking company with a high insurance premium. In addition, your crash may be promptly investigated by the trucking company, which will yield biased results.
That's why you need an experienced Ohio truck accident attorney who knows how to investigate truck crashes and deal with trucking companies and their insurance providers. To learn about your legal options, contact Smith Law Office in Columbus and schedule your free case evaluation.