Godwin, Morris, Laurenzi & Bloomfield, P.C.

Causes of trucking accidents on the road

There are numerous highways traveling through Tennessee, and local drivers can expect to encounter trucks on both the main highways and smaller thoroughfares. Drivers in the region may be interested to know that the fatalities of truck-related accidents increased from 2011 to 2012. The information is provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

According to the research, the drivers of other vehicles fared worse in accidents than the occupants of trucks. The research indicates that of the people killed in accidents with semi-trucks, only 18 percent were actually in the truck. Roughly 73 percent of people killed are in other vehicles, and remainder are non-occupants like bike riders and pedestrians.

Another point to keep in mind is that the truck drivers are not always at fault. According to the research, about 20 percent of the accidents involve another driver striking the truck from the rear. The research also looked at accidents to see if alcohol was a factor. Only 2 percent of accidents found that the truck driver has a blood alcohol concentration over .08 grams per deciliter. However, 23 percent of passenger car drivers, 22 percent of light truck drivers and 27 percent of motorcyclists were above this level at the time of the accident. In the case of speeding, the research shows that motorcyclists were the most likely to have previous records for speeding, and large truck drivers were only slightly more likely than small truck or passenger car drivers to have a record for speeding.

While it is clear that truck drivers do not always cause an accident, the fact is that people involved in an accident with a truck are more likely to be killed or seriously injured than in accidents with smaller cars. In most cases, the authorities will conduct an investigation to determine the cause and if either party is at fault. If a truck driver is suspected of negligent driving, then the occupants of the other vehicles may have some legal recourse to receive compensation for their injuries and lost time from work. An attorney can provide the victims with more information and help them determine what their next step should be in the matter.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "Large Trucks," accessed on Jan. 18, 2015

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