Commercial trucks are big. Trucking is a big business. Whether you are eating fresh fruit in the middle of the winter or buying affordably priced goods originally made in China, there is a decent chance that a commercial truck was involved in transporting most of what you buy. It should come as no surprise that trucking accidents are very common.
Just to give you an idea on how big the trucking industry is, consider the following statistics:
- The commercial trucking industry makes $650 billion in annual revenue. This compared to the gross domestic product of the entire country, accounts for 5 percent.
- Taking a look at how big its workforce is; there are more than 750,000 tractor-trailer drivers and almost 50,000 light truck and delivery drivers employed in the country.
- Trucking business accounts for nearly 84 percent of the total revenue taken in by the commercial transportation industry. The remaining 16 percent is divided among trains, planes, ships, and pipelines.
- Commercial trucks transport almost $390 million worth of goods, equaling to more than $4,400 worth of goods delivered per second.
- More than three million 18-wheeler trucks operate in the country, travelling over 93 billion highway miles every year, using more than 54 million truck tires and 52 billion gallons of diesel fuel to do it.
A fully-loaded commercial truck can weigh 80,000 pounds or even more. This means that an 18-wheeler that passes you on the highway is 40 tons of metal, fuel, tires, and cargo travelling at 65 miles an hour or more. In case of an accident happening, this gives a very scary picture. Commercial trucks are involved in thousands of accidents every year. Consider the following statistics from the Department of Transportation:
- Every year, there are about 500,000 commercial trucking accidents.
- About 5,000 crashes involving commercial trucks result in fatalities.
- In 985 of fatal commercial truck accidents, the victims who die are the ones from the other vehicle, not the truck.
- Nearly $60,000 in damages result from trucking accidents.
Causes of Trucking Accidents
Driver error is the common causal factor in the majority of truck accidents. Other common causes include adverse weather conditions, poorly designed roadways, mechanical failure, and failed traffic lights, but driver error is by far the most common cause.
A study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, reveals that 88 percent of trucking accidents are caused by driver’s error or omission. The FMCSA found the following from those accidents caused by driver error:
- 45 percent of the truck drivers involved were currently taking over-the-counter prescription medications.
- 18 percent of truck drivers involved in an accident were tired or fatigued.
- 23 percent of truck drivers involved in an accident were found to be travelling too fast for the road conditions they were driving on.
How Truck Drivers Can Avoid Accidents
Trucking accidents are often complicated, contributed by many factors and potential causes. Those drivers who have ever been involved in trucking accidents will tell you, it can be very difficult to objectively evaluate the situation, more so if you have been injured or your vehicle has been damaged. It helps to talk to a truck accident attorney, even if you don’t think you or the truck driver did anything wrong.