New Jersey Truck Accident Damages Fact Sheet
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Trucking has long been a disproportionate source of driving injuries and deaths. This is just common sense — trucks often outweigh passenger cars by 20–30 times. In addition, they have greater ground clearance than other vehicles, which can prove deadly in cases where the smaller vehicle underrides the truck.
What isn’t communicated by these details is how highway truck safety is a growing crisis. In 2009, 3,211 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes. In 2019, over 5,000 trucks were involved in highway fatalities.
This isn’t just a case of more trucks on the road — the rate of fatal crashes per mile traveled has gone up nearly as much, coming in at a full 50 percent. This is also in the context of overall highway deaths dropping, to the lowest rate since 2014.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a truck accident, you deserve to know the facts. Contact the skilled personal injury lawyers at Richard Hollowell to learn how our lawyers can help you make your case.
The Breakdown of Truck-Related Deaths in 2019
A total of 4,119 people died in large truck crashes in 2019. It should come as no surprise that most of those lost were not truck drivers themselves.
- 67 percent were occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles
- 15 percent were pedestrians, bicyclists or motorcyclists
- 16 percent were truck occupants
Why Do Truck Accidents Happen?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration publishes accident statistics on large truck accidents and their causes. The following are the top causes associated with truck accidents — a list filled with driver and vehicle error:
- 27 percent of trucks were found to have brake problems
- 19 percent of truck drivers were unfamiliar with the route
- 17 percent were speeding
- 10 percent of truck drivers felt under pressure
- 7 percent were overly tired
- 6 percent were distracted
- 5 percent were driving in an aggressive manner
- 3 percent experienced tire problems
- 1 percent were ill
- 0.4 percent were under the influence of illegal substances
- 0.3 percent had been drinking
How COVID-19 Affected Risky Behavior
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drivers engaged in more risky behavior after the start of the pandemic — including speeding, failing to wear seat belts and driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Average speeds also increased.
The NHTSA said the number of drivers testing positive for opioids nearly doubled after mid-March 2020, while drivers testing positive for cannabis increased by about 50 percent.
Some Trucks Are More Dangerous Than Others
Tanker trucks, which carry fuel, gas and other hazardous materials, are more likely than other large trucks to cause fatal crashes. In 2017 they accounted for 2 percent of all large truck crashes, and 3 percent of fatal large truck crashes.
- Tankers accounted for 5,733 crashes in 2017
- 372 of these crashes resulted in a fatality
- In 16 percent of these crashes, hazardous material was released from cargo compartments
The NHTSA and United States Fire Administration have found that fire truck crashes are the second main cause of firefighter deaths on the job.
- Between 2000 and 2009, there were over 31,000 crashes involving fire trucks. 49 of these crashes resulted in the death of at least one fire truck occupant
- 66 percent of fire truck crashes were rollover accidents
- 70 percent of these accidents happened while the fire truck was in emergency use
Trash collection is one of the top five most dangerous jobs in the U.S. It has a death rate of 33 per 100,000 workers — a greater rate than police officers. In 2017 there were:
- 2,430 crashes involving garbage trucks
- 1,427 of these crashes resulted in an injury
- 107 of these crashes resulted in a death
What Should I Do If I Was Involved in a Truck Accident?
If you or a loved one were involved in a car or truck accident, time is of the essence. Pursuing legal action and compensation is a complex task that you’ll need an expert accident lawyer to help you navigate.