Preliminary 2019 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows a small increase in the number of fatalities from truck crashes.
How many people are killed in truck accidents?
In 2018, 4,951 people were killed in crashes involving large trucks. What’s considered a large truck? In a press release, the NHTSA notes “FARS counts or estimates any large truck (gross vehicle weight rating > 10,000 lbs.) on a public highway involved in crashes, including large pickup trucks.”
According to the NHTSA’s Early Estimate of Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities in 2019, “fatalities in crashes each involving at least one large truck are projected to increase slightly (1%).” This is based on preliminary figures for the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) data for 2019.
Why are truck accidents so deadly?
These trucks are much larger than passenger cars and light trucks. Fully loaded, a tractor-trailer can weigh as much as 80,000 lbs. Many truck accidents occur on the highway at high speeds, resulting in a greater force of impact. When a large truck crashes into a car, the damage can be devastating and leave people with fatal injuries.
The causes of truck accidents remain a big problem in San Antonio and throughout Texas. They include:
- Driver fatigue: Drivers who spend too much time on the road can become fatigued. This can lead to poor judgment and delayed reaction times. Some drivers have even fallen asleep behind the wheel. That’s why the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) limits the number of hours drivers can spend on the road and makes breaks mandatory.
- Speeding: Trucks that exceed the speed limit are extremely dangerous. Large tractor-trailers require a great deal of distance before coming to a complete stop, and speed limits on some highways near San Antonio are as high as 85 mph. A truck driver exceeding the speed limit is often unable to slow down in time to prevent a crash if traffic conditions change suddenly.
- Distracted Driving: Engaging in any other activity besides driving while behind the wheel takes the driver’s eyes off of the road. It may only be for a few seconds, but that is more than enough time for an accident to happen. Examples of distracted driving include texting, talking on the phone, adjusting dashboard controls or using a GPS.
- Drunk or drugged driving: Drivers of commercial vehicles are subject to even stricter DWI laws than other drivers. Some still get behind the wheel after they have been drinking, taking medication or using illegal drugs. As a result, their judgment is impaired and their reaction times are slowed.
- Equipment failure: Trucking companies have a responsibility to keep the trucks in their fleet properly maintained and to make needed repairs promptly. Failing to meet this responsibility can result in mechanical or brake failure, tire blowouts or other problems that make the truck hard to control. In some cases, equipment on the truck may be defective.
Experienced lawyers handling fatal truck accidents
The experienced truck accident attorneys at The Herrera Law Firm understand the impact a fatal truck accident can have on loved ones. We represent families to help them get justice. Learn more about how we can help. Call 1-800-455-1054 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We can also conduct your consultation via phone, Skype, Zoom, or FaceTime.