The next time you are out on the highway, look around you. There are far more potentially deadly big rigs on the road than there ever used to be.
No one wants to hear that there are more accidents every year on the highways involving semis. Unfortunately, though, it is a hard, cold fact. In 2010 alone, close to 500,000 commercial trucks were in wrecks in the U.S. That overall figure includes at least 100,000 injuries and more than 5,000 deaths. In 2009, there were only 3,200 fatalities, says the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
If these figures were not dismal enough on their own, the Institute predicts an increase in commercial trucks on the roadways by 20 percent by 2012. You do not have to think too hard about what that means in terms of accident statistics. What causes trucking accidents?
This is a question that many people ask when they see this kind of a wreck; the same question hundreds of police officers, lawyers and victims ask in the ugly aftermath of this kind of accident. Interestingly, and not an astounding surprise, the biggest issue in big rig accidents can be traced directly to the behavior of the trucker. If you are interested in finding out more information on this issue, do an online search for the results of the Large Truck Causation Crash Study.
This particular study closely examined 120,000 18-wheeler accidents between 2001 and 2003, ultimately selecting 963 that involved a large truck and one passenger vehicle. The 963 crashes included 243 deaths and 1,654 injuries. As a part of this study, the timing and what was happening at the moment the inevitable crash took place was put under a microscope. The conclusion? That there were at least three catalysts for the wrecks:
- The big rig drifted out of the travel lane and either went into another lane, or off the road entirely
- The trucker lost control of the rig
- The truck rear-ended another vehicle in the truck’s path
The study went several steps beyond these initial classifications and identified the critical event, or cause, of an accident: the trucker, the vehicle and the environment. One could likely surmise that an accident could also be caused by all three of the critical events at the same time.
What do all these events have in common? The driver. Thus the study broke out the driver category into other classifications that included:
- The driver was impaired in some way, physically or mentally, i.e. alcohol or sleep deprivation
- The driver was inattentive or distracted
- The driver made a poor decision
- The driver did something like overcompensating after a turn
The statistics are very clear, and the researchers concluded that truckers were at fault at least 55 percent of the time, which is a frightening conclusion. That means your life is in the hands of the person behind the wheel of an 80,000 pound behemoth, and you had better hope they make the right decisions to keep that rig on the road.
18-wheeler wrecks can be catastrophic. There is no other word to describe them. Their impact on people’s lives is never-ending, often fatal, and if a victim survives, their life is often altered in unimaginable and devastating ways. This is the main reason you need qualified legal counsel to handle your personal injury case. Without the assistance of a skilled Atlanta personal injury lawyer, you may not get the compensation you need to live out the rest of your life.
Do you want to take the chance of trying to deal with an insurance company on your own when an Atlanta personal injury lawyer knows how to handle them and get you the compensation you need to live? If you have been in a big-rig truck accident, do not second guess your future. Call an Atlanta personal injury lawyer right away.
Tim Anderson writes for Atlanta Personal Injury attorney, Stephen M. Ozcomert. The firm specializes in personal injury, malpractice, motorcycle accidents, and wrongful death. To learn more about Atlanta personal injury lawyer, Stephen M. Ozcomert, visit http://www.ozcomert.com.