The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently released preliminary data for its Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) for 2019. The FARS report estimated a third consecutive yearly decrease in traffic fatalities (36,120 in 2019 from 36,560 in 2018). This data is provided to Congress and the public each year.
A 1% increase in truck crash fatalities
Despite the slight decline in traffic fatalities, FARS projected a one percent increase in fatalities involving large trucks. FARS doesn't differentiate between commercially and privately owned trucks, however. The report includes all trucks that weigh more than 10,000 lbs.
During 2018, there was a 0.9 percent increase in truck crash fatalities — the same period when electronic logging devices became mandatory on all large commercial trucks.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced a new study dubbed the Large Truck Crash Causal Factors Study. The study addresses a consistent increase in fatalities involving large commercial trucks during recent years. In comparison to the slight increase projected by the NHTSA for 2019, the FMCSA has revealed a larger upward trend.
"Fatal accidents involving big vehicles rose by 5.7 per cent in the past three years (2016-2018). This study will help FMCSA identify factors that contribute to the growth of fatal heavy truck crashes and only crashes in both injury and property damage (PDO). These factors will drive new initiatives to reduce crashes on our nation's roadways,” said the FMCSA.
Indiana sees an increase in traffic fatalities involving large trucks
Indiana has seen a consistent increase in truck crash fatalities from 2014-2018, according to state crash data. Traffic fatalities involving large trucks made up two percent of all statewide road deaths during each year, except 2018 (which was 3 percent).
In 2017, 22 out of 916 traffic fatalities involved large commercial trucks. That increased to 24 in 2018.
What are the leading causes of truck accidents?
Truck crashes are often caused by:
- Drowsy driving: Truck drivers spend more time on the road than most other people. Despite the hours-of-service laws that limit the amount of time truckers can spend on the road, there are some that fail to get adequate sleep per night or suffer from untreated sleep disorders.
- Distracted driving: Distraction is highly discouraged among all drivers, but truck drivers are often held to a higher standard. Some truck drivers cause distracted driving crashes by multitasking or using electronic devices behind the wheel.
- Impaired driving: Most truck drivers are responsible about avoiding driving while impaired. Some still get behind the wheel after having too much to drink or using prescription drugs and medications.
- Aggressive driving: When truck drivers are in a hurry to get from point A to point B, they tend to speed, tailgate, or frequently switch lanes. This can significantly increase the risk of a crash.
If you were injured or lost a loved one in a truck crash, know your rights. Contact an experienced Indiana truck accident attorney at Boughter Sinak, LLC and find out how we can help you get the justice and compensation you deserve. We offer free case evaluations to clients in Fort Wayne and South Bend.