More people are dying in crashes involving semi tractor-trailers and other commercial trucks. Eleven percent of all those who died in traffic crashes were killed in such accidents * in 2017, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The number of people killed in this type of crash increased by 30% from 2009, when large truck accident fatalities were at their lowest since data collection began in 1975. Most of the 4,102 people who died in 2017 truck wrecks were occupants of passenger vehicles.
If you’ve been injured or have lost a loved one in a crash involving a commercial vehicle, it is crucial to contact a personal injury attorney with experience in handling such cases. These accidents often involve multiple defendants, so victims must hire an attorney capable of discerning the role of each party. A knowledgeable commercial truck accident lawyer investigates to establish all liable parties and deals directly with their insurance companies. Just as important, a good truck injury attorney has the financial resources to take on the largest corporate defendants and a willingness to carry a case through to trial when necessary.
Ever greater numbers of trucks are driving more miles and delivering millions more tons of goods every year. That means that passenger vehicle drivers are increasingly likely to encounter commercial vehicles on interstates, highways, city arteries and downtown corridors. Trucks are 20 to 30 times heavier than cars, making it obvious why nearly three quarters of those killed in all 2017 large truck crashes were passenger vehicle occupants, pedestrians, bicyclists, or motorcyclists. In two-vehicle fatal crashes between a large truck and a passenger vehicle, 97% of those killed are passenger vehicle occupants. (Source: IIHS)
In 2017, 104,000 large trucks were involved in injury crashes. The heaviest trucks, those weighing 33,000 pounds or more, are by far the most commonly involved in fatal crashes. In 2016, this weight class represented more than 2/3 the total number of commercial trucks in fatal crashes, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). While semi truck accidents all too frequently result in tragic deaths, they also often leave victims with life-altering injuries.
In Minnesota, 47 of the 50 people killed in 2017 in multi-vehicle large truck crashes were the occupants of the other vehicle, or were pedestrians or motorcyclists. This type of crash also resulted in serious injuries for 1,119 people that year in Minnesota, while just 160 of those injured were truck occupants. When investigators look at what caused the collisions, truck drivers are found to have committed about half the contributing factors, most often having followed too closely. (Source: Minnesota Department of Public Safety)
While truck crash fatalities are rising nationwide, there are fluctuations on a statewide level. In Minnesota, for example, the number of truck crash deaths decreased from 2015 to 2016, from 68 to 64. Deaths from these types of collisions increased from 62 to 71 in both Iowa and in Wisconsin in those years. (Source: FMCSA) The decline in deadly truck collisions in Minnesota is good news, but truck traffic still looms large as a safety issue on our state’s roads. With 2.5 million large trucks registered or allowed to travel in Minnesota, the potential for tragedy remains ever-present.
Motorists have to take care around big rigs by staying out of blind spots. Drivers have to avoid cutting off a truck by making sure its entire front end is visible before changing lanes when passing a truck. Those who drive country roads need to maintain a vigilant look-out, bearing in mind that 78% of truck wreck fatalities happen in rural areas.
Suk Law Firm has focused on personal injury and wrongful death cases since 1988. We have successfully handled many truck accident injury claims and have recovered more than $125 million on behalf of our clients. We are ready to assist you – contact us today.
Besides Rochester, we serve the following major southeast Minnesota cities: Red Wing, Winona, Mankato, Austin, Albert Lea, and Owatonna, and all outlying communities, as well as the cities of Minneapolis, St. Paul, Duluth, and Bloomington. We also serve the Iowa cities of Mason City, Charles City, Osage, Spencer, Garner, Forest City, and Northwood and the Wisconsin cities of La Crosse, Onalaska, Sparta, Viroqua, River Falls, Ellsworth, Whitehall, and Black River Falls.
*A note about language:
Federal agencies involved in traffic safety have banned use of the word “accident” for more than 20 years, and with good reason. However, we use the word “accident” on our website, even though we know it has implications that run contrary to our professional thinking and training, because we recognize that “accident” is the word most commonly used in online searches when people are looking for help after being injured in a crash. If you’d like more information about this topic, please see our blog, “Car Accident or Car Crash?”