Auto accidents involving semi-trucks can be some of the most devastating violent on our roads. They’re also exceedingly common. Across the United States, there are an estimated 500,000 trucking-related accidents each year. 5,000 of these result in death. Perhaps even more surprising than these numbers is the fact that over 70% of these occur when the weather is clear and the roads are dry.
With the major highways and freight routes throughout North Carolina, the Tar Heel State sees a higher number of accidents than most states in the country. Actually, there were over 14,000 large truck accidents in 2016 alone. This article provides some facts and statistics regarding trucking accidents in North Carolina, and the importance of seeking the unique and qualified counsel of an attorney specializing in trucking accidents.
Facts about Large Commercial Trucks
In the United States, the trucking industry is regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which falls under the U.S. Department of Transportation. Additionally, commercial trucks are also subject to laws governed by the North Carolina Department of Transportation.
Semi-truck drivers must possess a valid Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), and are subject to restrictions on hours of service, keeping driver logs and meeting strict maintenance requirements, among other duties.
Although these strenuous requirements are meant to keep drivers safe and reduce accidents on the road, the mere nature of a large commercial semi-truck subjects them to increased chances of being involved in an accident. Weighing over 80,000 pounds with enormous trailers in tow make them a strong force on the road. Not to mention the number of trucks on the road each year.
In fact, semi-trucks are much more likely to be involved in a fatal, multi-vehicle crash than other large passenger vehicles such as busses or vans. And considering that 70% of America’s resources are transported by trucks, including approximately 15 million on the road each year, it’s not surprising to hear the large numbers associated with accidents, injuries and deaths involving semis.
Accidents by the Numbers
Commercial Motor Vehicles in North Carolina pose a large risk to drives throughout the state. According to recent statistics, accidents involving commercial busses, firetrucks and school busses accounted for nearly 2,500 of the total accidents in the state.
However, tractor trailer truck accidents accounted for nearly double that figure in 2017 alone. Even more disturbing, of the 2,500 from busses and firetrucks, 3 resulted in death. Compare that with 66 fatalities from large truck accidents.
Unfortunately, these numbers don’t seem to be declining either. According to the FMCSA, large truck and bus accidents across the U.S. have increased nearly 30% since 2009. During this time that means that a passenger or driver sustains an injury or is killed in an accident involving a semi-truck or tractor trailer every 15 minutes.
Another statistic that is quite alarming comes from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). According to the IIHS, in crashes that involve large trucks and other passenger vehicles, 98% of fatalities happen to the individuals in the passenger vehicle.
The size and strength of large trucks combined with the increasingly busy highways in North Carolina make for a deadly combination. And unfortunately, the number of accidents, injuries and deaths stemming from large trucks in the state do not appear to be slowing down.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving a large commercial vehicle in North Carolina, it’s important to consult an experienced and qualified attorney that knows the nuances of trucking law in North Carolina. Having a qualified lawyer on your side can help you fight insurance companies and ensure your rights are protected and you are fully compensated for your injuries.