Trucks stuck on a highway in traffic.

Trucking Fatalities Reach Highest Level in 30 years

  • Feb 3 2020

Despite improvements in the rate of highway fatalities overall, trucking fatalities are at their highest point in 30 years. These crashes took the lives of nearly 5,000 people in 2018. People who survive an accident involving a large truck often sustain catastrophic injuries. A California truck accident attorney can help you go after compensation for your losses if you get injured in an accident that involves a large truck.

Trucking Fatalities in Recent Years

When you dig into the numbers, you see that big truck crashes take the lives of more than four and a half times as many people outside of the trucks than occupants of the trucks. Of the 4,951 total people killed in accidents involving large trucks, 885 of the deaths were of people inside the trucks. 

People in other vehicles (3,525) and people who were not in vehicles, like motorcyclists, pedestrians, and bicyclists (541), account for 4,066 of the fatalities in large truck crashes. There was a nearly ten percent increase in the deaths of nonoccupants (motorcyclists, pedestrians, and bicyclists) from the year 2017 to 2018.

The trend for fatalities in accidents that involve large trucks is unsettling. The number of deaths has gone up every year for the last four years. 

Some Good News – California Highways are Getting Safer for Non-Trucking Accidents

In its recent report, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported some good news about safety on the roads. Here are a few examples of how our highways are getting safer:

  • The total number of driving fatalities went down from 37,473 deaths in 2017 to 36,560 in 2018, for a decrease of 2.4 percent.
  • California saw the most significant reduction in total deaths on the road, with 321 fewer fatalities in 2018 than in 2017. Total driving fatalities in the state were 3,563 in 2018, down from 3,884 in 2017. Across the United States, the total highway fatalities decreased in 32 states.
  • Deaths from alcohol-impairment related crashes also went down. There were 10,908 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in 2017 and 10,511 in 2018, a change of 3.6 percent.
  • The most considerable improvement in alcohol-impaired fatal crashes from 2017 to 2018 by vehicle was for motorcycles, which decreased by a little more than ten percent and lights trucks/vans, which went down by 20.5 percent. 
  • Comparing the states, California had the greatest decrease in alcohol-impairment related highway fatalities. Seventy-eight fewer people died in these crashes in California in 2018 than in 2017. In 2018, 1,069 Californians died in alcohol-related wrecks, as opposed to 1,147 deaths in 2018. Although the number of these crashes went down, alcohol impairment was a factor in 30 percent of all road deaths in the state in both 2017 and 2018.  

The NHTSA suggests that seat belt and alcohol safety programs account for much of the reduction in traffic fatalities over the last 40 years. Airbags and other vehicle improvements also save lives on the road.

Talk With a Truck Accident Attorney in California

When a person gets injured in a crash with a large truck, he can experience many losses, including medical bills, lost wages, disfigurement, disability, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life. Trucking companies have teams of lawyers who defend against injury claims aggressively. Schedule a consult with one of our California truck accident attorneys today. Working with a California truck accident attorney can help you recover your damages so that you can focus on rebuilding your life.

Posted in: Truck Accident


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