Trucking accidents are often catastrophic. This is because big rigs are much heavier than traditional passenger vehicles. When the laws of physics are at work and a large, heavy, truck collides with a small, lighter, car, the energy from that truck transfers over to the car — and those within.
This means that those within a car are at a much higher risk of serious injury. Some common examples can include:
- Head injuries. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can range from relatively mild causing dizziness and headaches to severe, leading to seizures and death.
- Spine injuries. The spinal cord is protected by vertebrae, bones that serve as a shield to this important bundle of nerves. If damaged, the victim can experience numbness, tingling, paralysis, or death.
- Broken bones, cuts, and contusions. The impact of the collision or debris can break bones in the face and extremities and result in serious cuts and bruises.
Unfortunately, the rate of these accidents is on the rise. The National Safety Council reports that there was an 18% increase in large truck accidents from 2020 to 2021. This is part of a larger trend. The rate of these accidents has gone up by almost 50% compared to a decade ago.
As we learn more about these injuries and the severity of trucking accidents, we also put funding into finding out the common causes of these accidents. Once we know the reason for the crash, we can work towards reducing these numbers and reversing this trend. The Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration provides an annual report digging into these crashes. The most recent findings note common causes included:
- Speed. Most accidents occurred when the truck was traveling over 55 mph.
- Distraction. Driver distraction also contributes to an increased risk of accident.
- Violations. Crashes were also reported due to various traffic violations like a failure to yield right of way, careless driving, and a failure to obey traffic signs.
Other notable factors that increased risk include impairment by fatigue or alcohol and overcorrection of the truck.