Commercial vehicle accidents are on the rise. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there was a 2% increase from 2015 to 2016 in the number of fatal crashes involving large trucks and buses. Approximately 4,440 large vehicles used to transport goods, services, or people were in accidents in 2016.
The results are often devastating. Physical injuries, financial burdens, and fatalities affect thousands of families.
It’s important to be aware of how often commercial drivers cause accidents. This awareness can encourage the further pursuit of knowledge as to why these collisions happen and what can be done about stopping them.
Let’s take a look at the number of annual tractor-trailer accidents in Arkansas.
How Common Are Commercial Truck Accidents in Arkansas?
Thousands of big rig crashes happen every year, all across the country. The FMCSA individually tracks how many accidents occur in each state. Their most recent report, for 2016, lists the following as happening in Arkansas:
- There were 77 truck accidents.
- 60 of the crashes resulted in 68 fatalities.
- 13 of the crashes involved single vehicles.
- The remaining 47 collisions involved multiple vehicles.
- 20% of all accidents per Arkansas’ population involved commercial vehicles.
The majority of tractor-trailer accidents are entirely preventable, as most result from negligent truck drivers or trucking companies. If you’ve been in an accident, our attorneys can guide you through the legal process to ensure your needs are met.
How Frequently Do the Different Types of Tractor-Trailer Crashes Occur?
While there are a number of types of commercial vehicle accidents, there are some that happen more frequently than others. Recognizing the dangers to look for while traveling can reduce your risk of getting into a wreck.
- Rear-end Collisions. Rear-end collisions are one of the most common types of tractor-trailer collisions. Nearly 18% of truck accidents are labeled as rear-enders. Speeding, tailgating, aggressive driving, and emergency braking are all contributing factors.
- Underride Accidents. These accidents kill hundreds of people a year and are often the result of tailgating or speeding.
- Jackknife Accidents. These accidents often occur when a truck diver slams on their brakes, causing the trailer to swing out at a 90-degree angle to the cab. When this occurs, multi-vehicle accidents are possible. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), jackknifing accounts for 10% of all truck crashes.
- Blind Spot Crashes. Commercial drivers must remain aware of their surroundings at all times. With blind spots to the front, back, and left and right sides, these accidents are common and are often a result of improper merging or lane changing. Approximately 27% of fatal crashes in work zones involve a commercial vehicle.
- Mechanical Failures. Big rigs require more maintenance than a regular vehicle. When truckers or companies neglect to regularly inspect and fix their vehicles, things like brake problems or engine failure could occur. This is one of the leading causes of truck crashes.
When Are Commercial Truck Drivers Negligent?
There are a number of behaviors that can be considered negligent while operating a commercial vehicle:
- Exceeding the Hourly Travel Limits. Commercial truckers are supposed to follow the federally-established hours of service (HOS) rules. This means that there are only so many hours they can travel a day before stopping. Some truckers attempt to violate these rules to make a deadline. Unfortunately, trucking companies sometimes look the other way to ensure their cargo gets to where it’s going on time. This can result in fatigue, which can cause accidents.
- Driving Under the Influence. It is always illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs. Some truckers may also be unknowingly driving under the influence of prescription drugs. Individuals are not supposed to operate heavy machinery, like a commercial vehicle, while taking certain prescriptions.
- Using a Cell Phone. Federal law states that all use of hand-held mobile devices by commercial vehicle drives is restricted. This means that any trucker who is found to be using a cell phone to talk, text, or otherwise communicate can be fined and penalized.
If you’re ready to take legal action after being the victim in a tractor-trailer wreck, our attorneys are here for you. We have the experience needed to provide you with the representation that will get you the compensation you need to cover your medical bills, property damage costs, lost wages, and more. We may be able to recover damages for pain and suffering, as well.
For more information on how we can help you get your life back in order after an accident, contact us today.
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