The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has found that in 2012, large trucks accounted for about 1 in 10 highway deaths. This equated to 3514 deaths in 2012 alone.
This is remarkable for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the disproportionate share of highway deaths caused by large trucks.
On the other hand, the physics involved explain the high rate of deaths caused by trucks. Large trucks may weigh as much as 30 times more than a passenger vehicle. This means a passenger vehicle will fare none to well in a collision with a truck.
Related to the physics associated with the sheer weight of large trucks, large trucks are harder to stop and maneuver making it difficult to avoid otherwise avoidable accidents. Couple this with the high rates, often excessive, highway speeds at which they travel and you have a recipe for disaster.
In addition to these factors, truck drivers often suffer severe fatigue related to long and tedious hours on the road. Long hours and lack of rest are often contributing factors in a truck accident.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) points out that the law allows truckers to drive 11 hours at a stretch and up to 77 hours per 7 day period. This alone could lead to fatigue and inattention associated with it. However, the IIHS points out further that many drivers violate even these rather liberal hour restrictions.
In fact, it seems that fatigue associated with these hours is often a factor in the truck accidents and wrongful deaths associated with them each year. Fatigue, lack of sleep, lack of rest, excessive hours and so on are very important facts to determine in the investigation of a truck accident.
This means that in case of a truck accident with injuries or death, it will be very important to determine whether the driver was in violation of the restrictions. Just as importantly, it will be important to know if the company allowed or encouraged the violations.
An personal injury attorney experienced with truck accidents can help. Collins & Collins, P.C. has significant experience with truck accidents. We can be reached for a free case review at (505) 242-5958.