Thousands of people die in truck accidents every year in the United States. This has been a long-standing public safety concern for decades. Recently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported a disturbing increase in traffic fatalities in the United States, including those involving large trucks. Any uptick in trucking crashes puts Michigan citizens in harm’s way. An experienced truck accident lawyer can help if you or a loved one has been hurt.
Alarming Statistics on Trucking Crashes
In May 2022, NHTSA released early estimates of motor vehicle traffic fatalities that showed troubling increases in deaths in a wide range of categories, including a 13 percent increase in fatal crashes involving at least one large truck. More than 5,600 people died in those collisions.
Identifying the reasons for the increase is difficult. One theory is that more aggressive driving habits combined with more vehicles on the road are to blame. Another explanation could be the nation’s current truck driver shortage. The American Trucking Association (ATA) estimates that the industry was short by 80,000 drivers in 2021. This shortage could result in truckers facing significant pressure to drive more hours and more miles with fewer breaks. It also means trucking companies will be more likely to place novice drivers on the road as quickly as possible, potentially cutting corners on their training.If the labor shortage continues, the ATA forecasts a loss of 160,000-truckers by 2030.
Common Causes of Trucking Crashes
Overworked and inexperienced truck drivers could increase the number of truck crashes caused by driver error. Operating a large commercial vehicle is not easy. It takes specialized training and experience to know how to judge stopping distance, maneuver turns, and back up safely.
Common causes of trucking crashes include:
- Failure to yield
- Failure to check blind spots
- Driver fatigue
- Distracted driving, such as texting
- Inexperienced or poorly trained drivers
- Driver impairment due to alcohol or drug use
- Equipment malfunctions, such as brake failures or tire blowouts
- Improper maintenance
- Improperly loaded trailers
Common Truck Accident Injuries
Any accident involving semi-trucks can cause catastrophic injuries to other drivers, motorcyclists, bicyclists, or pedestrians. Common truck accident injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Other traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Back injuries
- Soft tissue damage
- Internal bleeding
- Spinal cord injuries
- Facial injuries or disfigurement
Why You Need a Lawyer for a Trucking Accident Claim
You could be entitled to compensation if you were seriously injured in a truck accident that was someone else’s fault. However, tractor-trailer claims involve complex state and federal laws regulating the truck industry. You may need to file claims against several defendants, depending on who is at fault for the crash. Additionally, it is imperative to understand how Michigan’s no-fault auto accident laws apply to your case. It is advisable to defer to an experienced personal injury attorney, and not rely on your insurance company or go it alone.