Even as Overall Traffic Deaths Drop, Fatalities Involving Large Trucks Remain Unchanged
Despite an overall drop in traffic fatalities nationwide, the number of deaths in crashes involving at least one large truck were largely unchanged from 2018 to 2019, according to a new study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)’s 2019 Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS).
According to the FARS report, there were 5,005 fatalities in large-truck crashes in 2019, compared with 5,006 fatalities in 2018. However, other NHTSA research shows a slight decrease in overall traffic fatalities nationwide. NHTSA researchers said there were 36,096 total traffic fatalities in 2019 — a 2 percent drop from the 36,835 fatalities reported in 2018.
While fewer deaths on the roads is cause for celebration, the NHTSA researchers pointed out some areas of concern. Chief among these is an increase in risky driving behavior by many motorists, even during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. A study of five trauma centers during the second quarter of this year found that nearly two-thirds of seriously or fatally injured drivers tested positive for at least one active drug.
Researchers found that the number of drivers testing positive for opioids doubled after March. Meanwhile, the number of drivers testing positive for marijuana climbed by 50 percent. Speeding and failing to wear a seat belt were other concerns noted by NHTSA researchers.
What Kind of Reckless Driving Is Now Occurring?
Truck drivers need to be especially careful on the roads. Commercial trucks are considerably larger and heavier than other vehicles, so they tend to do a lot more damage when involved in an accident. Some of the most common causes of truck accidents include:
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Driving while fatigued
- Distracted driving
- Following too closely
- Aggressive driving (unsafe lane changes, taking turns too quickly, etc.)
We’ve seen the kind of damage trucks can do in an accident recently in the Philadelphia region. An Amazon truck was destroyed in a rollover crash on Interstate 81 on Nov. 4, while another tractor-trailer accident on Oct. 23 took out a light pole on Interstate 95 and caused severe traffic delays.
What Is the Trucking Industry Doing to Prevent Fatalities?
It’s important for the trucking industry to take additional steps to reduce injuries and fatalities in large truck crashes. Some of the steps being taken include:
- Better training for commercial motor vehicle drivers
- Installation of forward-collision warning and automatic braking systems
- Using video and analytics to better review drivers’ performance and develop better training tools
- Developing and implementing new safety software that warns truck drivers of upcoming dangers
Hurt in a Crash? Contact an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney Now
Truck accidents often lead to catastrophic if not fatal injuries. If you’ve been hurt or lost a loved one, you need an experienced trial attorney on your side to help you demand the full compensation you deserve. At Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C., our truck accident lawyers have the experience and the resources to take on powerful trucking companies and their insurers. For example, our firm was able to recover $10.5 million in a verdict for the family of a woman who was killed when her SUV collided with a dump truck, burying her in tons of spilled sand.
After a serious accident, do not wait to get the legal help you need. Contact us today to get started with a free consultation.
Co-founder and senior shareholder of our law firm, Philadelphia medical malpractice attorney Kenneth M. Rothweiler began his career as a legal clerk for the Superior Court of Pennsylvania. Dedicated to complex personal injury litigation, he has tried more than 100 jury trials. These cases resulted in some of the largest verdicts in Pennsylvania.