Large trucks on the highway pose a significant threat to drivers of passenger cars. Although the trucks account for only four percent of registered vehicles nationwide, they account for nine percent of vehicles involved in fatal car crashes.
In 2013, there were approximately 342,000 accidents involving large trucks, resulting in 3,964 fatalities. In those fatal wrecks, the person killed was an occupant of the other vehicle 71 percent of the time! The truck driver was killed only 17 percent of the time. Injuries from large truck wrecks are very similar. The injured parties are occupants of the other vehicle 72 percent of the time.
In Virginia, there were 1001 vehicles involved in fatal crashes in 2013, 100 of which were large trucks. Of the 89 people killed in these wrecks involving large trucks, 24 were occupants of the truck, while 61 were occupants of the other vehicle, and four were not occupants of either vehicle.
Nationwide, the majority of wrecks involving large trucks occur when the roads are most populated. Sixty-four percent of wrecks happen on weekdays, and 73 percent occur between 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Alcohol is rarely an issue with truck drivers. In fatal large truck crashes in 2013, only two percent of the truck drivers had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher. Drivers of passenger cars involved in fatal crashes had a BAC of .08 or higher 23 percent of the time.
Collisions with big trucks are obviously something to be avoided. To do so, it helps to recognize the types of truck driver errors that most often contribute to wrecks. According to Virginia’s 2014 crash statistics, truck drivers were cited for a moving violation in 5,151 of the 9,750 crashes. Sixteen percent of those violations were for improper lane changes, and another 16 percent were for following too closely. Nine percent were for failure to yield the right of way.
These types of actions by truck drivers indicate two defensive strategies for passenger car drivers: 1) assume the driver of a big truck cannot see you due to blind spots, and 2) get out of the way. In a passenger car, you can’t afford to come into contact with a big rig. You might have the right of way, but that is of little consequence when 4,000 pounds goes up against 80,000 pounds! And the trucker might be wrongfully tailgating, but moving over and letting him pass is always the best play.
If you’ve been injured in a car wreck with a large truck, you should consult with an experienced, compassionate personal injury attorney who understands Virginia law. To learn more, ASK ABOUT IT! Call Sandler Law Group – toll free 800-9-THE-LAW or (757) 627-8900 to schedule an initial FREE consultation. You may also contact us online at www.sandlerlaw.net or by email at GSandler@Sandlerlaw.net.