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Jon Lewis
Jon Lewis
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Truck Accidents – By the Numbers

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1. How prevalent are trucking accidents?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were an eye-popping 342,000 reported accidents involving large trucks in 2013. Of those 342,000 accidents, there were an estimated 95,000 injuries and 3,964 fatalities. Based on the high prevalence and lasting effects, a large number of people in the United States have been affected and continue to be affected by large trucking accidents.

2. Who tends to be injured or killed in large truck accidents?

Given the weight differences between normal cars and large trucks, it can safely be assumed that occupants of everyday cars are hurt and killed more often than large truck drivers. Even considering this obvious notion, the numbers are still rather shocking. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that of the estimated 95,000 people injured in large truck crashes in 2013, 72% were occupants of other cars, as opposed to large truck drivers. In accordance with normal reporting procedures, figures of the injured do not differentiate between kinds of injury.  As such, among the 95,000 injured are those suffering with anything from scrapes and bruises to missing limbs and paralysis.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also found that of the 3,964 fatalities in 2013, 71% were occupants of cars or small trucks. Between 2012 and 2013 there was also a 13% increase in the number of non-occupant individuals killed by accidents involving large trucks. Further, between 2000 and 2008, the Federal Highway Administration found that 25% of work zone motor vehicle fatalities involved large trucks.

3. What about Alabama?

While these numbers represent nationwide totals, this issue strongly affects Alabama in particular. In 2013 there were 107 large trucks involved in fatal crashes in Alabama. Stemming from those accidents were 109 fatalities. And while this may seem like a relatively small number, the harm from each death affects that person’s family and loved ones, as well as the family and loved ones of the people who survive.

4. How much insurance to trucking companies have to carry?

The minimum coverage required by Federal law is $750,000.00 unless the company carries hazardous waste, and then, it’s $5,000,000.00.  You can read the statutory authority here.  While $750,000.00 may seem like a lot, trucks can cause significant damage which, when properly evaluated and analyzed, can be grossly inadequate.  For example, in a recent case, there were three injured parties, one of which was killed one of which suffered an amputation and had over $400,000.00 of medical bills.  $750,000.00 was not nearly enough coverage.  There have been multiple attempts at requiring more insurance, but all efforts have failed to this point – the trucking lobby does not want their clients having to pay higher premiums.