There are approximately 251 million registered vehicles in the United States alone and in 2004 there were 198.8 million registered drivers with an estimated 6.6 million driver's licenses likely to be issued in 2007-2008, according to information obtained from programs under the US Department of Transportation USDOT) and the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
In 2005, there were nearly 6.4 million auto accidents resulting in approximately 40,000 fatalities, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In 2007, the USDOT reported that:
* There were 236,468 non-fatal large truck accidents.
* 54,961 injury-related large truck accidents.
* 80,752 injuries due to large truck accidents.
Large truck accidents account for a significant portion of vehicle accidents every year and also account for a portion of crash-related injuries and fatalities among drivers, passengers and pedestrians.
According to the research conducted by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), fatalities caused by truck accidents are rising and have steadily fluctuated 5.8 percent over a the previous ten-year period. Causes of Truck Accidents There are a plethora of reasons that an individual can become involved in a truck accident, but there are a list of common, reoccurring truck accident scenarios that have been identified by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which conducts research on highway collisions involving an array of motor vehicles.
The following are some of the primary causes for a fatality or injury because of a truck crash:
* Trucks hitting pedestrians.
* The force of the collision between a large truck and a smaller passenger vehicle / vehicles.
* Trucksitting fixed objects.
* Loss of control (tire blow out, vehicle failure, weather conditions, etc.).
* Animal in roadway.
* Physical driver factor, including falling asleep, heart attack, etc.
Another study conducted by the FMCSA also found that truck accidents will vary based on roadway type, weight of vehicle and cargo body type. The study found that of the three main categories of roadway types (rural, urban and unknown), urban roadways (interstate, freeways, expressways, etc.) accounted for 63 percent of all large truck accidents. Additionally, weight factored into the equation of truck accidents and truck fatalities / injuries.
The study measured truck weight by single unit trucks (two axles, threes axles, etc.) and combination trucks (tractor trucks, truck pulling trailers, etc.). Of these, 62 percent of accidents were made up by combination trucks, specifically the tractor truck pulling a trailer.
Additionally, the study reported an array of truck varieties that had been in an accident:
* Van trucks, including closed van, refrigerated van and open top van.
* Dump trucks (rear dump trucks and bottom dump / hopper bottom).
* Tankers (tank-liquid, tank-dry bulk and tank-compressed gas).
* Garbage refuse trucks.
* Cement mixers.
* Pole / logging trucks.
* Auto carriers.
* Livestock carriers.
* Bobtail units (with no cargo body).
* Other category, which includes tow trucks, etc.
* Unknown category (meaning un-inspected vehicles).
Of these trucks, the van trucks accounted for 46 percent of large truck crashes with dump trucks accounting for 16 percent of accidents and flatbed trucks accounting for 15 percent.
Truck Accident Costs While the percentage of truck accidents varies each year, the UMTRI has noted that there is a steady increase of truck accident fatalities and injuries among passengers.
Accompanying this increase is the rising costs per crash. Research determining the average price for medium as well as heavy truck accidents was conducted by the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, which was paid for by USDOT.
The study found that: An average truck accident cost $ 91,112 in 2005.
* Crashes involving truck-tractors with two or three trailers accounted for the most cost crashing averaging $ 289,549 per crash.
* Truck crashes involving trucks with no trailers and straight trucks cost an average of $ 56,296 per crash.
* Reports have claimed that it will cost more than $ 3.6 million per crash for truck accidents involving a fatality.
* Whereas, truck crashes involving injury-only crashes averaged at $ 195,258 per crash.
While the costs of fatal and non-fatal accidents have been considered shockingly high by some, the study noted that these cost estimates excluded additional factors such as:
* mental health costs.
* roadside furniture repair costs.
* cargo delays.
* It is estimated that even those who are involved in or carrying for a victim that was in a truck accident will have lost earnings.
* the value of schoolwork lost was also not factored.
Because of these exclusions, the estimated truck accident costs may even be considered higher than estimated by the USDOT.
Seeking Assistance after a Truck Accident
It is often difficult for an individual to gauge the destruction that has just occurred after a truck collision. It is important that an individual who has suffered from a truck accident seeks medical attention immediately.
While an individual may feel no pain after an accident, their injuries may be internal and an examination by a medical professional immediately following an accident can ensure that the appropriate safety precautions are taken.
Additionally, it may be necessary for a truck accident victim to consult an experienced truck accident attorney for legal purposes, which may include a legal consultation for a potential truck accident lawsuit.
Developing a truck accident lawsuit may seem to be a drastic measure by some, but when considering the costs associated with a truck accident, whether fatal or non-fatal, it can be deemed a necessary step, one that may provide monetary compensation in return for damages following a truck collision.
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