Each year, thousands of truck accidents occur in the United States that result in severe injuries and fatalities.
Large commercial trucks such as 18-wheelers, big rigs, semi-trucks and garbage trucks account for a large number of crashes, injuries and traffic fatalities.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that large trucks are more likely to be involved in fatal multiple-vehicle crashes than passenger vehicles. When trucks and passenger vehicles are involved in a crash, over 75 percent of the fatalities were the occupants in passenger vehicles. Commercial trucks only make up four percent of all registered vehicles, yet they account for eight percent of all fatal crashes.
Causes of 18-Wheeler Accidents
Tractor-trailers are articulated vehicles that consist of a towing engine (tractor) and a semi-trailer that carries the weight. Tractor-trailers are also referred to as mack trucks, big rigs and 18-wheelers; an 18-wheeler truck gets its name from the number of tires that are on the vehicle.
An 18-wheeler accident can be caused by a variety of factors including vehicle safety, driver skill level and driver fatigue. Common sense dictates that correctly trained and licensed driver of commercial trucks will reduce the amount of truck accidents on Georgia highways. However, a study conducted by the Federal Highway Administration found that the trucking industry was not providing adequate training for new drivers. Listed below are some disturbing facts from the study:
- Less than 33 percent of new drivers of tractor-trailers and other commercial trucks are properly trained.
- Only half of large truck training classes offered by private and public training schools are adequate in content and duration.
- One out of 10 trucking companies offers sufficient training for their new drivers.
In 1984, the Department of Transportation issued its Proposed Minimum Standards for Training Tractor-Trailer Drivers; however, these new standards were only voluntary instead of being mandatory. Under the federal agency’s proposal, truck drivers would have to complete 320 hours of instruction, half of it would have to be behind the wheel. Currently, truck drivers with a CDL license are not required to have on-the-road experience.
18-Wheeler Accident Injuries
According to the NHTSA, 80,000 people were injured in truck accidents in 2010. Some injuries that are commonly sustained in truck wrecks include:
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Back and neck injuries
- Wrongful death