Passenger vehicles have a clear and deadly disadvantage in collisions with larger trucks. Passenger vehicle occupants suffer the most deaths in large truck accidents.
There were 4,102 fatalities in large truck accidents in 2017, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Passenger vehicle occupants constituted 68% of these deaths, while pedestrians, motorcyclists and bicyclists comprised 14%. Truck occupants comrised 17% of the accident fatalities.
The number of deaths in these accidents was 30% greater in 2017 than in 2009, which had the lowest recorded number since 1975. Truck occupant deaths also rose by 52%
The disparity between truck and passenger vehicle deaths are attributable to several factors. The weight of trucks is often 20 to 30 times greater than passenger cars. Passenger vehicles often end up under larger trucks because the trucks have greater ground clearance.
Tractor-trailers that are fully loaded take 20 to 40 percent more distance to stop than passenger vehicles. This distance becomes even longer on wet or slippery roads or if the truck is equipped with poor brakes.
Truck driver fatigue is another cause of accidents. Federal hours-of-service regulations allow truck drivers to drive up to 11 hours at a time. Many drivers violate these rules and drive longer than allowed, according to surveys.
Victims of these accidents and their families may be entitled to compensation. If you have been involved in an accident with a truck, you should contact an attorney to help you obtain evidence and pursue your claim for damages through a wrongful death lawsuit.