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Trucking Accidents: Incidence and Cause


Trucking Accidents: Incidence and Cause

I’m Ed Smith, a Fresno truck accident lawyer. There are over four million trucks on the nation’s highways. As a coastal state with rich agricultural and product production, trucks are likewise a common sight on California roadways. While truckers are involved in fewer accidents than other drivers, when accidents happen they can be brutal. Let’s take a look at trucking accident statistics.

Crashes With Big Trucks

Of 411,000 crashes with big trucks in 2014, one percent or 3,424 involved a minimum of one fatality and 88,000 involved injuries. Crashes that did not involve another motor vehicle- instead involving pedestrians and bicyclists- were responsible for slightly more than 20 percent of fatal crashes. 63 percent of fatal crashes were between two motor vehicles.

Timing and Type of Road

Sixty-one percent of all fatal truck accidents occur on rural roads, with 26 percent happening on urban roadways. Only 37 percent of fatal accidents occurred at night. The majority of deaths (84 percent) and injuries (88 percent) happen during the work week Monday through Friday.

Main Reasons for a Truck Accident by Type

The initial incident in a truck accident that ultimately results in a fatality or injury is referred to as a harmful event. Looking at it from this standpoint, when the first harmful event was a collision with another vehicle, it caused 73 percent of all fatalities and 83 percent of injuries- as well as 73 percent of damage to property.

When rollovers caused the first harmful event, only five percent of deaths and two percent of injuries were incurred. Although the effects of rollover accidents can be significant, the incidence of injuries and fatalities is not. Work zone accidents resulted in 30 percent of fatalities and only nine percent of injuries. Most single and multiple vehicle accidents happen at a speed of 50 to 55 m.p.h.

Problem Areas

Weight accounts for many truck accidents. Basically, 310 feet is required for a fully-loaded truck to stop when moving at a speed of 55 m.p.h. This is the length of a football field, assuming the brakes are properly maintained.

Fatigue, usually due to unrealistic schedules and the need to finish one job and start another quickly, can translate into poor truck driver performance. Although truckers are mandated to stick to strict hours of service rules, many choose to work around them.

Investigating a Truck Accident

An experienced California truck accident attorney knows that the proof of fault lies in thorough investigation. Initially, reviewing events at the accident scene, including talking to witnesses, measuring roadway marks and noting road conditions is critical to a good investigation. Reviewing a trucker’s logs after securing information at the accident scene is essential. The logs show the hours of service, cargo weight and loading procedures and whether the cargo containment was secure. Logs also have maintenance schedules and results pointing to any lapse in maintenance.

Reckless Behavior

Risky driving habits such as speeding when driving a big rig account for many accidents. Tailgating another vehicle is also very dangerous due to the time it takes a truck to stop. Changing lanes also causes collisions with cars and motorcycles in particular. Drinking or using drugs does not happen often since truckers tend to be tested regularly, however, taking over the counter drugs is not included in the basic testing and these drugs cause drowsiness and adversely affect response time.

Related Articles by Fresno Truck Accident Lawyer, Ed Smith:

Fresno Truck Accident Lawyer

I am Ed Smith, a truck accident lawyer in Fresno. Truck accidents can happen at a moment’s notice and may change a person’s life forever. If you or a family member was injured in a trucking accident, or even killed at the hands of a reckless truck driver, please call me at (559) 377-7676 or (800) 404-5400 for compassionate, free, and friendly advice. I am also available online via my website,

I have helped clients in Fresno and Northern California for over 35 years with amputation injuries or traumatic brain injury. Whether it was a car accident injury or a wrongful death, I fought to make sure the compensation for their financial loss was appropriate.

Go to Yelp, Google or Avvo to learn more about how clients and some of my peers view my practice. 

The Million Dollars Advocates represent a nationwide forum of trial lawyers. Each one of us has won $1 million in settlements and/or verdicts.

Take a look at my past settlements and verdicts page to see more about previous cases.

Photo Attribution: Pixabay, Mountain Snow by Wolk9. CC0
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