An auto accident can cause injuries, fatalities, financial challenges and emotional stress, among other issues. Some vehicles and drivers are more dangerous than others. Those who share the road with a large truck may feel a certain level of reticence due to the potential for injury and death if there is a collision.

Recent statistics indicate that those fears may be well-founded. Despite greater oversight and vigilance on common truck dangers, including distracted driving, driving under the influence, drowsy driving, speeding and reckless operation, there was a statistical increase in the number of truck accident fatalities in 2019. This information may be important when considering a legal filing for compensation.

What does the 2019 report say?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that their initial findings for 2019 show a 1% rise in truck fatalities. This comes at about the same time as overall traffic fatalities are reducing, although the numbers are preliminary.

The Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) will eventually be presented to Congress for consideration. FARS accrues its statistics by counting the number of large trucks that were beyond a certain weight – 10,000 pounds – and had a collision on a public highway. Included in these numbers are large pickups. There is no stated difference between a truck that is privately- or commercially-owned.

How might these findings impact legislation?

This information could prove to be important as it gives regulators a guideline as to what is working and what is not in terms of safety legislation. For example, there were recent changes to the way in which truckers are required to record the time they spend on the road. They now use electronic logging devices (ELDs) instead of recording it in other ways that could be falsified. Other rules include limiting the hours a driver can spend on the road at one time and requiring regular breaks.

Aside from the problematic issues with large trucks, it is notable that there has been a reduction in overall accidents. The trend for total accidents has been reducing since 2017. More than 36,000 people died in crashes in 2019. That’s a 1.2% reduction from the previous year. One factor considered in these statistics is how many miles people may drive in total. In the past decade, the total number of road fatalities has been increasing, despite the recent reductions in total fatalities.

What should drivers do after a truck accident?

After a truck accident with injuries, drivers can be confronted with a litany of concerns that will impact their lives and the lives of their families. Medical expenses can be exorbitant with hospitalizations, surgical procedures, medication and the potential need for physical therapy. If the injuries were severe, returning to work may prove impossible. The injured driver might even need assistance in their everyday life, placing personal, financial and emotional strain on their loved ones that can last for many years.

If a fatality occurs, the family left behind must consider the funeral expenses and how to make ends meet without a contributing family member, in addition to coping with the loss of a loved one. Victims and the families left behind frequently make the mistake of accepting a settlement from an insurance company and then discover that it is not sufficient to cover all that was lost. Before taking that step, it may be wise to consider a legal filing by discussing a claim with an experienced personal injury law firm.