Last March, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Analysis Division released its annual "Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts" report on commercial truck accident statistics for 2014. Below you'll find some of the most striking data.
Commercial Truck Accidents That Caused Fatalities
Nearly 4,000 large trucks and buses, including transit and school buses, were involved in fatal accidents in 2014. This marked a 4.5 percent decrease from 2013.
The report defined a large truck as one with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of more than 10,000 pounds.
The GVWR "is the maximum weight a vehicle is designed to carry including the net weight of the vehicle with accessories, plus the weight of passengers, fuel, and cargo," said financial advice site The Balance.
Buses were defined as any vehicle designed to transport nine or more people, including the driver.
In 2015, 53 percent of large-truck crash deaths occurred on major roads other than interstates and highways, and 30 percent occurred on interstates and highways, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Forty-two percent happened between 6 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Commercial Truck Accidents That Caused Injuries
The number of large truck or bus accidents that caused injuries increased 55 percent between 2009 and 2014, when 132,000 people were injured.
Broken Bones, a TBI, Blindness, and a Coma
Early June 7, 2014, a Walmart truck driver who hadn't slept in 28 hours hit comedian Tracy Morgan's chauffeured van as he returned home from a performance. Morgan's mentor died, and three other passengers were injured.
Morgan suffered a traumatic brain injury, a shattered femur, and cracked ribs.
"[E]very bone in his face was broken," Rolling Stone reported.
He also slipped into an eight-day coma and woke up blind for six days.
After the accident, Morgan felt guilty because his friends wouldn't have been in the van if it weren't for him.
"Emotionally, it's hard for me to deal with," he said.
A Long Recovery
The 47 year old had to learn how to talk and walk again. Two months after he reached a confidential settlement with Walmart in 2015, Morgan was nominated for an Emmy. The following month, he got married. According to People, Morgan told hosts of “The View” that he worked hard to get out of his wheelchair, so he could walk his wife down the aisle without a cane.
As of the March 2016 Rolling Stone article, he was still suffering occasional headaches and memory lapses and seeing a lengthy list of doctors, including a psychiatrist to help him get past the death of his friend.
Reasons Passenger Vehicle Occupants Are More Likely to Die in a Commercial Truck Accident
Of the 3,852 people who died in large-truck crashes in 2015, 69 percent were occupants of cars, and 16 percent were truck occupants, per the IIHS. Sixty percent of truck occupants who were killed were involved in multiple-vehicle crashes that involved another large truck.
Passenger vehicle occupants are usually the people who die in large-truck accidents because trucks weigh 20 to 30 times as much as cars, the IIHS said.
Also, tractor-trailers carrying a load need 20 to 40 percent more room than a car to stop. They need even more than that on slippery pavement.
Lastly, as brought to light in the Tracy Morgan case, truck driver fatigue is a crash risk. And as the IIHS said, "[s]urveys indicate that many drivers violate the regulations and work longer than permitted."
Were You Hit by a Semi in Ohio or Florida?
If you were seriously injured or a loved one died in a commercial truck accident, contact attorney Tom Robenalt. His previous experience working for an insurance defense firm can help you get the compensation you deserve. Ohio and Florida limit the amount of time you have to file a claim, so call (216) 223-7535, email email@example.com, or fill out this online form today for a free consultation.