Over 5,600 people were killed in truck accidents in 2021 nationwide — a 13% increase over 2020 and the largest number in almost four decades, according to preliminary data released by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). An NJ.com report, citing statistics from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), states that the 5,601 deaths from crashes involving trucks weighing more than 10,000 pounds was the most since the 5,613 recorded in 1985. Last year, 4,965 deaths occurred as a result of large truck accidents.
Urgent Need for Safety
This increase in truck-related deaths comes at a time when federal transportation officials have finally moved on making long-awaited changes to improve truck safety and reduce crashes involving big-rigs. President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure law would mandate automated braking systems for trucks heavier than 26,000 pounds and new standards for rear underguards, as well as a study to see whether side guards are needed. These guards are designed to prevent smaller vehicles such as cars from being wedged under trucks.
These underride crashes often result in catastrophic injuries or deaths. The U.S. Transportation Department’s new safety strategy includes these improvements while Biden’s proposed budget for the 12 months beginning Oct. 1 increases funding for the NHTSA.
This month, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced that it would look at requiring speed-limiting systems in trucks weighing more than 26,000 pounds. However, these safety measures fall short of recommendations made by safety advocates and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) such as lane-warning devices or collision avoidance systems for trucks.
The report also notes that the issues of driver sleep apnea and how long truck drivers should be allowed to be on duty remain unaddressed. The increase in truck accidents reflected the rise in overall national highway fatalities. They increased 10.5% to 42,915 in 2021 from 38,824 in 2020. Safety advocates blame this increase on behaviors such as speeding and reckless driving, which began during the coronavirus pandemic and have continued since.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Here are some of the most common causes of truck accidents:
• Driver fatigue or drowsy driving
• Excessive speed or driving at an unsafe speed
• Impaired driving — driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs
• Distracted driving
• Overloading or improperly loading trucks
• Poor truck maintenance
• Faulty or defective truck parts
Contacting an Experienced Lawyer
Accidents caused by speeding may result in catastrophic or major injuries such as traumatic brain injury, spinal cord trauma, internal organ damage, multiple broken bones, amputations, etc. Such injuries tend to require significant medical treatment and rehabilitation and leave victims with temporary or permanent disabilities that prevent them from working and earning an income.
Victims who have been injured in truck accidents may be able to seek compensation for damages including, but not limited to, medical expenses, lost income and benefits, hospitalization, rehabilitation, permanent injuries, disabilities, past and future pain and suffering, etc. Families of deceased accident victims may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit seeking compensation for damages such as lost future income, funeral costs, medical expenses, pain and suffering, etc.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, or if you have lost a loved one in a motor vehicle accident caused by a negligent or careless driver, the experienced New York personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options, and also fight hard to recover just compensation for you.
For over 50 years, our skilled accident attorneys have established a proven track record of helping injured victims. Our law firm recently recovered $5,600,000 for a bicyclist who was hit by a van, and $2,550,000 for another victim of a truck accident, and $3,000,000 for a pedestrian who was hit by a car, and the full $1,000,000 insurance policy for a pedestrian who was hit by a truck, and $4,625,000 for a driver who was in a car and was hit by a van, and $2,500,000 for a man who fell through an improperly secured hole. Also, one of our clients obtained a verdict for $43,940,000 and another of our clients got a verdict for $23,500,000, both in medical malpractice cases.
Please contact us TOLL FREE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5496). WE CAN EVEN COME TO YOU. There is no attorneys’ fee unless we recover money for you. We can also help with personal injury and/or medical malpractice cases in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been seriously injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.
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