According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), fatalities from large truck accidents reached a 29-year high in 2017.
While deaths from big truck crashes rose 9%, there was a decline of 2% in overall deaths from car crashes.
That 9% represents an additional 392 lives lost (out of a total 4,761 for 2017). “About 1,300 of the deaths were truckers. The remaining 72 percent occurred in the other vehicle involved in the collision.”(Trucks.com)
The number one contributor to these fatalities is truck drivers speeding, most likely trying to get to their destination before the federally required rest-break they must take after eight hours on the road.
The Hours-of-Service (HOS) rule limits driving to 11 hours in a 14-hour period with a 30-minute break at eight hours.”(Trucks.com) Drivers and carriers can be penalized and/or fined for violating HOS regulations.
Other common causes for trucking accidents:
- Driver error
- Distracted driving
- Work zones (involving driving through work zones)
- Driving under the influence
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sites 10 safety tips for driving in the vicinity of large trucks:
Stay out of the No Zones
If you can’t see the driver in your side mirror, the driver probably can’t see you. Slow down or move ahead to stay visible, and be careful merging.
Always pass from the left lane and don’t pass trucks “on downgrades, where they tend to pick up speed.”
Don’t “Cut Off” a Large Truck
You may be in the driver’s blind spot, or the driver may not be able to slow down quick enough to avoid a crash.
Tailgating a large truck puts you in a blind spot. “Because trucks are high off the ground, your vehicle could slide (or get pushed) under a truck in a crash.” When stopped, stay back, especially when on an upgrade, where a truck may roll back.
Anticipate Wide Turns
Large trucks need extra turning room. “Never try to squeeze by or get between a turning vehicle and the curb.”
Trucks need time to accelerate after stopping.
Wear your safety belt, and make sure kids are in the back seat, buckled up.
Do not let anything distract you while driving.
Don’t Drive Fatigued
“Take regular breaks, get another driver to relieve you, or get off the road and find a safe place to rest.”
Never Drive Under the Influence
“There is no safe limit for drinking before driving.”
What to do if you’re in an accident with a large truck:
You will need to do everything you would normally do in any car accident.
- Stay at the scene
- If needed for safety reasons, and if it’s drivable, pull your car off the road. Turn your hazard lights on.
- If anyone is injured, call 911 for assistance. Don’t move anyone who is injured, unless they are in danger.
- Get names and insurance information of other parties involved in the accident.
- Make note of location of the accident and conditions at the time (including weather and time of day).
- If possible, take pictures of the scene and of any damage.
Specific information to collect in a commercial trucking accident:
- The license plate number and any other identifying information (make/model).
- The truck driver’s license number and employer.
- Names and addresses of drivers and any passengers.
- Insurance company information (including policy number).
- Names, addresses, and phone numbers of witnesses.
Contact a Truck Accident Attorney.
The Law Offices of David L. Hood – Truck Accident Attorney in South Carolina
Dealing with a truck accident can be an overwhelming task, as trucking companies and their insurance companies have lots of money to fight these expensive cases. This is where The Law Offices of David L. Hood can help make your life easier. Being your personal injury lawyer, we put in all our efforts to maximize your recovery. We have the experience and skills to negotiate and deal with a powerful defendant. Over the years of our service in South Carolina, we have represented many victims of truck accidents and made successful damage recoveries.
We and our co-counsel have a team of diligent truck accident experts determined to give you the legal representation that you deserve. If you end up choosing us to represent you, we will work your case on a contingent-fee basis, where you pay our fee only AFTER we obtain a recovery. To get your no-risk free initial assessment for your case, schedule a consultation with us by calling at (843) 485-0011 or contact our offices here.
Other online resources used for this article: