Risky Business: Tractor-Trailer Accidents on the Rise

Tractor-trailers are responsible for transporting 70% of all products and goods across the United States. Unfortunately, these tractor-trailers can pose a serious threat to those they share a road with. There has been a significant increase in trucking accidents over the last decade despite new regulations intended to promote safer transport.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there is an estimated 500,000 tractor-trailer-related accidents every year. Accident statistics cite inexperience, mechanical failure, and fatigue as some of the leading causes of trucking-related crashes.

Under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulation 395 a driver can only work 70 hours over 8 days, thus the 70-hour 8-day rule. This has been established in an attempt to decrease the number of tractor-trailer accidents each year due to driver fatigue. Over the course of 8 days, a truck driver cannot exceed more than 11 working hours per day.

While these regulations were intended to minimize the amount of driver fatigue, a survey by the American Transportation Research Institute found that 66% of drivers indicated increased fatigue while driving as a result of the new rules. This may be due to sleep disruption, circadian rhythm, stress about meeting deadlines with enforced resting periods, and other factors that cannot be mitigated by a mandatory rest period.

The Trucking Industry Poses a Serious Threat to Everyday Drivers

Below are some staggering facts about tractor-trailer accidents in the United States:

  • Tractor-trailer accidents are often more severe and dangerous than passenger vehicle accidents due to the weight and size of the trucks.
  • Every 15 minutes there is a trucking accident that results in an injury or fatality.
  • Thursdays are the most dangerous day of the week, with 18% of all trucking-related accidents landing on a Thursday. Monday and Wednesday are noted to have the next highest number of crashes.
  • Tractor-trailer accidents occur most often between 12pm and 3 PM, and 12am-6am, coinciding with the body’s natural decrease in alertness at these times due to dips in the circadian rhythm.
  • 16% of tractor-trailer accidents occur on the weekends.
  • The rate of occupants’ death in big trucks has significantly decreased since 1975. Today, 97% of all fatalities in tractor-trailer crashes are occupants of a passenger vehicle.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a tractor-trailer accident, the experienced lawyers at The Yost Legal Group are here to help. Call 1-800-YOST-LAW (1-800-967-8529) today for a free consultation. We will investigate your case and help you get the justice you deserve. There is no fee unless we recover.

Unskilled Truckers Creating Deadly Roadways for Passenger Vehicles

In April of 2019, a 23-year-old lost control of the truck he was driving and plowed into stopped traffic in Colorado. This tragic accident cost four people their lives, and catastrophically injured six others. While the driver was later found guilty of vehicular manslaughter, a bigger problem still remains. Trucking companies across the U.S. are facing a labor shortage and as a result, untrained and unskilled drivers are getting behind the wheel of 10,000+ lbs. trucks. The result of which can be deadly.

Trucking Related Casualties to Become the 5th Leading Cause of Death in the United States

In the United States, the trucking industry accounts for nearly three quarters of all product transport. It also accounts for nearly three quarters of all fatal passenger vehicle accidents. Nearly 97% of all casualties in trucking related accidents were those in passenger vehicles. It is predicted that by 2030 trucking related casualties will become the 5th leading cause of death in the United States.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) the top cause of truck accidents is mechanical defects, such as the brake failure in the tragic 2019 crash. In these instances, proper training can be the difference between life and death when these failures occur. Knowing how to maintain control of the truck or how to use safety features designed specifically for the possibility of losing control of the truck, such as a runaway truck ramp, can save lives.

A runaway truck ramp is a safety feature present on many major roadways for trucks that are out of control. These ramps are filled with gravel or sand and use kinetic energy to rapidly slow large vehicles safely away from passenger vehicles. In the case of the Colorado crash, runaway ramps were available for the driver to use for instances of brake failure or otherwise. Unfortunately, due to lack of sufficient training, the driver failed to use them, resulting in deadly consequences.

The average truck is about 16 times the size and weight of most passenger vehicles. Trucking companies have a responsibility to ensure that their employees have the proper training, supervision, and experience to be able to handle a vehicle of that size. When companies neglect this responsibility, they are sending potentially deadly weapons onto the road, and when tragedy strikes, the company must be held accountable.

Neither you nor your loved ones should be at risk of serious injury or death due to negligent trucking companies and untrained drivers. The Yost Legal Group works diligently to provide justice for those who have faced wrongful injury or death due to the carelessness of others. If you or a loved one has been affected by a truck accident, we may be able to help. Contact us today at 1 800 YOST LAW for a free consultation.

Tractor Trailer Awareness Protects Drivers

A Howard County, Maryland resident was critically injured last week when his passenger vehicle collided with a tractor trailer on Interstate-70.  Unfortunately, tractor trailer accidents are not uncommon on our roadways.  For instance, did you know according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) there has been a 20% increase in trucking accidents over the last two decades?

Around 500,000 trucking accidents occur every year in the US, with 5,000 resulting in fatalities and leaving thousands more seriously injured. The attorneys at The Yost Legal Group continue to represent victims and their family members who have been injured by tractor trailer accidents. The Yost Legal Group stresses the importance of safe driving, particularly when sharing the roads with big rigs.  It is important to be aware of the five most common causes of truck accidents.

1)  Truck Driver Error:  According to the FMCSA, driver error is ten times more likely to be the cause of a crash than any other factor. Driver fatigue, distractions and substance abuse are the most common causes of driver error.

2)  Weather Conditions:  Weighing upwards of 80,000 pounds, a loaded semi can outweigh the average passenger vehicle by more than 25 times. This means, due to their heavy load, trucks need to increase their braking distance in bad weather. Staying apprised of local weather patterns can assist the driver’s anticipation of breaking when needed.

3)  Truck Equipment Failure:  Defective tires and faulty reverse lights are examples of truck equipment failures. The FMSCA requires pre-trip inspections, as well as companies to perform routine inspections and maintenance throughout the year. Ignoring these guidelines leads to accidents.

4)  Improper Loading:  A truck can malfunction when moving if the load is not safely configured or distributed on the trailer. Improper loading can also lead to not being safely secured, resulting in the load falling off onto roadways.

5)  Truck Driver or Company Selection:  Shippers need to be diligent in background checks on drivers and companies to ensure the best delivery results. They should check each are compliant with FMSCA regulations.

When driving a passenger vehicle, there are several steps you can take to help ensure safe travels when on the road with tractor trailers.

–          Don’t tailgate or drive along side of trucks for too long.

–          Stay visible by being aware tractor trailers have much larger blind spots.

–          Leave more room for trucks to stop on wet roads.

–          Use caution when merging into traffic in front of trucks.

–          Pay attention to turn signals.

If you or a loved one is ever injured in a tractor trailer accident, a car accident or any other type of accident call The Yost Legal Group for help. We’ll speak with you for free to discuss your situation and help you to understand your rights. If we take your case we will do so on a no win/no fee or expense basis only. That means you do not pay a fee or expense unless you recover.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, call 1-800-YOST-LAW (1-800-967-8529) to speak to one of our attorneys today.

The Yost Legal Group, Experienced Lawyers Dedicated to Protecting your Rights.