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Making sense of the causes and rates of trucking accident deaths

According to recent trucking safety statistics released by the American Trucking Association (ATA), between the years of 1980 and 2015, fatal accidents involving large trucks decreased from 5,042 to 3,598 annually, a reduction of over 32 percent. That marks a decrease in the amount of type accidents from 4.65 to 1.29 fatal crashes per 100 million miles driven by truckers each year, a reduction of approximately 74 percent.

The ATA also found that of all types of vehicle crashes, truckers have 29 percent less of a chance to become involved in accidents than do other types of vehicles on the road. At the same time, when accidents do occur, they found that large trucks have a incidence rate of being struck in the rear, causing another's death, by more than 3 times that of other vehicles.

Of head-on collisions, some 90 percent of those involving both passenger cars and tractor trailer trucks are thought to have resulted from a passenger vehicle crossing the median into the truck's lane. As a result of this and other discoveries, it's believed that drivers of passenger cars are at least 70 to 75 percent responsible for all fatal crashes involving both trucks and cars each year.

As for any potential role that alcohol and illicit drug use play in causing these fatal crashes, both appear to be relative non-factors. In fact, industry-wide violations of alcohol consumption guidelines for the most recently evaluated year, 2014, has been shown to be at 0.08 percent. Trucker drug use is a bit higher at 0.9 percent.

When it comes to intoxicated truckers, 2 percent of truckers involved in fatal trucking accidents were shown to have had blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) in excess of the legal limit, 0.08, in 2015. This numbers is some 19, 20 and 25- percent less than the BAC reported for car drivers, light truck, and motorcycle operators respectively that same year.

Driver fatigue, whether it involves a trucker falling asleep at the wheel or being cognitively impaired as a result of being tired, is another factor considered to cause fatal trucking accidents. It is believed that upwards of 7 percent of all fatal truck crashes can be attributed to this.

If you've been either seriously injured or know someone that's been killed in a trucking accident, an Waco, Texas, it is well advised to find a reputable trucking accident attorney for guidance.

Source: trucking.org, "Trucking safety facts," accessed April 17, 2017

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