Spike in Fatal Truck Accidents in 2017November 7, 2018
Each year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) collects data on the number of people killed in traffic accidents ranging from car accidents to motorcycle accidents to truck accidents. The annual report compiled for 2017 indicated a rise in fatal truck accidents, which was in contrast to almost every other trend.
Officials from the NHTSA found that the number of fatal truck accidents increased from 725 in 2016 to 841 in 2017, which is a 16 percent increase. The exact cause of this increase is unclear, but distracted driving, failure to wear seat belts, and a general rise in the number of vehicles on the roads may have contributed to the spike in fatalities.
According to the report, every other category of fatal accidents – including car, pedestrian, bicycle, and light truck accidents – dropped in 2017. When the NHTSA broke down the types of fatal truck accidents, they found that tractor trailer accidents went up 5.8 percent from 2016 to 2017, and “straight truck” accidents increased by 18.7 percent.
While the NHTSA report does not offer explanations of why this increase may have occurred, a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) spokesperson suggested that a strengthening economy means that there are more cars and trucks traveling on roads and highways across the country. As a result, there is more potential for traffic accidents.
Other Explanations for the Rise in Fatalities
In addition to the number of motorists on the roads, the FMCSA spokesperson said that 40 percent of the motorists killed in large truck accidents were not wearing their seat belt at the time. The total figure for all vehicle fatalities involving passengers not wearing their seat belt was 47 percent.
The report also found that there was an increase of close to 20 percent involving motorists killed in multiple vehicle accidents. However, this did not reflect any particular pattern.
Distracted driving is another possible explanation for the increase, including the driver of the truck or another motorist who was distracted, even though distracted driving accidents declined in 2017 in every other vehicle category.
Large Truck Safety Concerns
A vehicle is considered a large truck if it has a gross weight rating of greater than 10,000 pounds. This can include commercial or non-commercial vehicles. Regardless of the reasons behind the increase in fatal truck accidents, it is a serious safety concern.
Due to the massive size and weight of large trucks, fatalities are common when a large truck and a passenger vehicle are both involved in a serious accident. Unfortunately, it is almost always the occupants of the passenger vehicles who suffer the most severe, often fatal injuries.
Baltimore Truck Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Protect the Rights of Truck Accident Victims
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in a truck accident, the Baltimore truck accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton are on your side. We understand how devastating these accidents can be and how traumatizing it is when you are involved in an accident with one of these massive vehicles. Our experienced legal team will conduct a thorough investigation of the accident to determine who is responsible for your injuries. We will not stop fighting for you until justice has been served. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent truck accident victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.