Operators of 18-wheelers transport goods throughout the country, and are a crucial part of getting merchandise and equipment to destinations. Although drivers of 18-wheelers have this important role, they also present one of the largest dangers on U.S. roads. There are multiple contributing factors to accidents involving large trucks, which often results in the need for individuals or their family members to contact an 18 wheeler accident lawyer.
There are staggering facts and statistics related to accidents that involve 18-wheelers. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) explains that large trucks often weigh as much as 20 to 30 times more than passenger vehicles. The tremendous weight of these trucks puts drivers and passengers of automobiles or other passenger vehicles potentially at high risk of injury or death when 18-wheelers are on the road and cause an accident. Information from 2017, provided by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) includes:
- There was a 23 percent increase in the number of fatal large truck crashes in 2017 compared to 2010
- 83 percent of fatal crashes and 88 percent of non-fatal crashes involving large trucks occurred on weekdays
- When considering fatalities of individuals involved in accidents with large trucks, 82 percent of those fatalities were not the driver or occupant of the large truck
- One or more driver-related factors were often attributed to the large truck operator in both fatal and non-fatal accidents
The driver, occupants, or family members of innocent individuals involved in these accidents likely need an experienced 18 wheeler accident lawyer to help them recover compensation.
The IIHS explains that the primary vulnerability to individuals on the roads with large trucks, which includes 18-wheelers, involves people traveling in smaller vehicles. The IIHS also reveals that in 2018, of the 4,136 people killed in accidents with larger trucks, 67 percent of those people were occupants of passenger cars.
Factors such as drivers that fail to follow safety standards for 18-wheelers on the road, driving while fatigued, and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs potentially contribute to accidents involving 18-wheeler trucks.
There are safety guidelines and stringent rules in place for reporting truck drivers that drive under the influence. The FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, which went into effect in January 2020, requires the reporting of operators of large trucks to the online clearinghouse real-time information when a driver has drug or alcohol violations. There are several potential issues, including the fact that violations that occurred before January 6, 2020 do not have to be reported, and the fact that the clearinghouse only keeps the violations active for five years.
Innocent people on the road are possibly put at risk of being involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler. Contact a skilled 18 wheeler accident lawyer with the expertise to fight for you if you are involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler.