It’s not like trucks travel in outer space, with around 15 million of them on the roads of the USA, you are bound to come across one of these in Colorado. You’ve probably been told by safety advocates how dangerous these vehicles are and what can happen if you’re just a teeny tiny bit reckless around them.
But are those warnings practical or just some made-up stuff to scare people?
Trucking safety is a major concern not only for truckers but also for anyone else sharing the road, this includes passenger car drivers, pedestrians, motorcyclists, and so on. However, without any concrete data about the dangers of the trucking industry, all of this hard to state factually.
In this article, we’ll do just that.
With millions of commercial trucks on the road and the inherent lack of safety in their structure (plus the contribution of negligent drivers), truck accidents are inevitable. They happen in the thousands around the USA and are pretty prevalent in Colorado as well.
In 2017, the state reported 87 fatal semi-truck crashes!
Yes, in just one year, and this number accounted for 9.2% of all deadly crashes in Colorado.
The number for light trucks was 407.
Compare this to the fatal accidents involving passenger vehicles (327) and motorcycles (108), and you’ll see that trucks, though not as frequently seen on the streets as the rest of these vehicles, still pose a Highly inflated accient risk.
There is no doubt about most truck accidents turning out to be fatal ones because they pack lots of momentum, but what do the overall stats show.? Is Colorado an exception or are trucks dangerous all around.? These numbers will help clarify:
Traffic deaths resulting from semi-truck accidents have shot up by 30 percent over the past decade, and the number of in-service trucks has also gone up (but in all fairness, the fatality rate per miles traveled has gone down due to better federal trucking regulations).
Though improved federal regulations have been put in place, the roads are far from being perfectly safe.
Truck crash risk factor/percentage, as derived from nation-wide stats, make all the major roads the riskiest (52% of the crashes happen here), freeways as moderately risky (32% of the auto accidents involving trucks happen here), and the least risk is present on smaller roads which still claim 15% of all truck crashes.
In the event of a fatal trucking accident, the death of the truck driver/occupant is not very likely, though still possible at a probability of 17%, however, the most at-risk of meeting their end are passenger vehicle occupants who get involved in a fatal truck crash (68% of all fatal truck accident victims).
Pedestrians were also found out to be the victims of horrific deaths in 14% of all fatal crashes involving trucks.
On average, around 700 commercial truck drivers die each year as a result of fatal truck crashes, this is roughly 17% of all fatalities accounted for by truck accidents. The odds of a truck driver dying as a result of a truck accident are based heavily on the details of the accident, i.e. a multiple-vehicle collision involving two or more trucks is very likely to kill the truckers involved.
To understand how these alarming numbers came to be and why they matter, let’s understand the causes of commercial truck accidents, at least the most prevalent ones:
Distractions while driving are not exclusive to commercial drivers but truckers are more prone to them than an average passenger vehicle driver. Distracted driving is the leading cause of automobile crashes all over the USA, in all categories, including semi-truck accidents..
When traveling at high speeds, a vehicle packs huge momentum, thus even a split-second distraction can have disastrous results. This is especially true for trucks that are already hard to control as-is and can cause serious damage in the event of a collision.
Just be very careful on your end, don’t expect the other driver to act responsibly, do all that you can to safeguard yourself from them.
PS, some distractions are pretty easy to prove, i.e. if the driver was using their cellphone, it can be proved via their phone records but others may be a bit tricky.
As mentioned earlier, trucks carry a much bigger momentum when traveling at speeds comparable to most other cars.
This means that they are not only hard to stop but can also hit hard if not stopped in time. Even if a driver presses hard against the brakes, the vehicle will still need a fixed distance/gap to stop in time to avoid a collision.
If that gap is not there, the truck will crash, which happens more often than you think.
Distractions and misjudgment are to blame here.
Maintenance is a basic requirement in the trucking business (and for other commercial vehicles too) but not everyone commits to the routine checks. This can bear dangerous results, especially if there is no fleet tracking technology on board to warn the driver and the managers of impending maintenance trouble.
For instance, a fault in the braking system can increase the stopping distance and thus cause a collision.
Since truckers work on a mileage basis, it is only normal for them to get greedy here and claim more hours for themselves than they can commit to. The torturous and humanly impossible routine can take the best of anyone, not just a truck driver.
Thus feeling drowsy or fatigued while driving is pretty common for them, and this has very often led to serious accidents.
Being under the influence of drugs is also a factor here but only in a small percentage of cases.
Perhaps the driver is not to be blamed, at least not primarily. Unsafe road conditions and unexpected weather changes can be a factor too. Of course, this does not absolve the trucker from their responsibility but if the conditions were indeed harmful and could’ve been avoided with better planning then the governing body will be held at fault too.
Just a PS, the statute of limitations for a case involving a government entity is shorter than the regular three-year time period for most personal injury cases.
The laws of the traffic have been set in place to protect everyone on the road.
Speeding is an offense where the laws are pretty clear – there is no grey area here, never exceed the speed limit. If a driver does so and gets involved in a car accident, they will be considered at fault without any question.
Truck drivers have often caused fatal motor vehicle crashes due to speeding, thus it is nothing to be taken lightly.
According to the state law of Colorado, you can sue the other party for a personal injury case if you can prove that their negligence caused you harm and property damage (though primarily the focus will be on bodily injury). In an ideal scenario, here’s how you should act in the event of a truck crash to increase the likeliness of you getting compensated:
Truck accidents are especially horrific because of all that we’ve mentioned so far. If you’ve been in one, odds are that you sustained some serious damage and are pretty shaken up by the events. In any case, the only way out is forward.
The only thing you should be focused on when faced with such a situation is to get compensated fairly.
We can help you with that.
You should never delay calling a lawyer and never hold back from contacting one simply because you’re afraid you might not be able to afford their services. Experienced truck accident attorneys usually have very flexible payment plans, for instance, our legal team at the Firouzbakht law firm uses a contingency fee plan to help clients not worry about the payments.
Call us today to learn more about what we can do for your case!