People die in car accidents every day, but a fatality is more likely when a semi-truck is involved. Semi-trucks can be found on California’s highways delivering produce, electronics, clothes, household goods, and other everyday essentials.
While semi-trucks are a necessary component of our economy, they can be scary to drive around. A fatal semi-truck accident is something you should be concerned about. California has the second-highest rate of fatal crashes, behind Texas.
If you’re in a passenger vehicle at the time of a semi-truck crash, the odds are against you. Of those killed in semi-truck accidents, 97% are occupants of passenger vehicles. Just 3% are drivers and other occupants of the semi-trucks.
That’s because passenger vehicles are small and vulnerable compared to these gigantic trucks, which can weigh tens of thousands of pounds. Plus, in a crash, passenger vehicles have been known to get trapped underneath semi-trucks, which are taller and have more ground clearance.
Main Factors in Semi-Truck Crashes
There are two main factors in semi-truck crashes. One is braking capability. When a semi-truck is fully loaded, it can take 20% to 40% further to stop than passenger vehicles — and that’s when the roads are dry. When the roads are wet or slippery, it can take even longer to stop. The same applies if your brakes are not well maintained.
Another main factor is fatigue. Truck drivers are known for driving long hours to get to their destination and meet deadlines. Under federal law, a truck driver is allowed to drive for 11 hours at a time due to hours-of-service regulations. However, not all trucking companies follow these laws and instead force drivers to work even longer. Some truck drivers falsify their hours of service logs in the interest of driving more, making more deliveries in a shorter time, and earning more money.
Semi-Truck Fatality Statistics
In 2019, there were 4,119 people killed in semi-truck accidents. Most — 67% — were occupants of passenger vehicles. A decade earlier, in 2009, the number of people killed was 2,223 — a difference of 31%. This was the lowest number since fatal crash data started getting collected in 1975.
However, 2019 was not the worst year by far; 1979 saw the highest number of semi-truck fatalities, at 6,539.
Semi-truck accidents almost always result in death. In fact, statistics show that 98% cause at least one fatality. The average amount of damage is $60,000. Thirty percent of semi-truck accidents are caused by truck driver fatigue. However, poor weather conditions and inexperience are also factors. Both these issues make it harder for truck drivers to slow down and avoid hazards that can lead to fatal semi-truck accidents.
Contact Us Today
Semi-trucks are large vehicles weighing as much as 80,000 pounds. A truck of this size can crush a passenger vehicle or motorcycle, causing death.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident, the Los Angeles Car Accidents Attorneys El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers can help. We can help file a personal injury or wrongful death claim so you can get the injury settlement you deserve. Call 213-985-1120 or fill out the online form to schedule a free consultation.