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Report Shows Devastating Impact of Truck Accidents

Posted on May 8, 2015 by Kelly Wolford

The number of large trucks involved in fatal crashes declined significantly in New York State and across the country between 2004 and 2013, according to a new report issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

However, in the final year analyzed in the report, 2013, the number of large trucks involved in fatal accidents increased at both the state and national levels. The majority of those killed or injured in those crashes were drivers or occupants of other vehicles, the report shows.

The statistics, compiled by the FMCSA’s Analysis Division and published in early April, underscores the devastating impact of being involved in a collision with a large tractor-trailer (or semi-truck).


The Good News: Fatal Truck and Bus Crashes Trending Downward

The FMCSA report, on one hand, provides encouraging news: Fatal and injury-producing crashes involving large trucks and buses generally trended downward during the period analyzed.

Between 2003 and 2013, the number of large trucks involved in fatal crashes in the U.S. fell from 4,721 to 3,906, or by 17 percent, the report shows.

Additionally, the number of large trucks involved in injury crashes declined by 18 percent, or from 89,000 in 2003 to 73,000 in 2013.

In New York State, the number of large trucks involved in fatal crashes fell from 147 in 2003 to 114 in 2013 – a drop of 22 percent.

Large Trucks Involved in Fatal Crashes

The number of buses involved in fatal crashes decreased as well, from 291 in 2003 to 280 in 2013 (4 percent). However, the number of buses involved in injury crashes increased from 14,000 in 2003 to 18,000 in 2013 (22 percent).

The Bad News: Fatal Truck and Bus Crashes Spiked in 2013

Despite the overall downward trend, the FMCSA report indicates there was an uptick in the number of large trucks and buses involved in fatal crashes in the U.S. in 2013.

Large Trucks & Buses Involved in Fatal Crashes

Unfortunately, the majority of large truck crashes in 2013 involved two or more vehicles (63 percent), with the occupants of the other vehicles typically suffering the consequences – not the truck driver.

According to the FMCSA report, out of the 3,159 people who were killed in multiple-vehicle large truck crashes in 2013:

Additionally, out of the 85,000 people injured in multiple-vehicle large truck crashes in 2013:


Why Did Large Truck Crashes Happen in 2013?

The FMCSA report shows that at least one driver-related factor was recorded in 1,295 fatal truck crashes in 2013, while at least one moving violation was recorded in 324.

Generally speaking, these statistics reflect negligent driving.

According to the report, the seven driver-related factors involved in the highest number of crashes were:

Out of the 229 fatal crashes involving distraction, cell phone use – dialing, talking, listening or engaging in other activity with the phone – was present in only 26 accidents, the FMCSA reports. That is a surprisingly low number.

However, in 83 crashes, the details of what caused the distraction were “unknown,” according to the report. So, it is possible that cell phone use may have been a factor in those accidents but went undetected.

Additionally, it is important to note that the use of alcohol, drugs or medication was present in 48 crashes. However, it was not the leading driver impairment-related factor. Instead, it was impairment by fatigue – present in 56 accidents.

At Powers & Santola, LLP, we have experience handling the complex issues involved in truck accident cases, including the investigation of how the crash occurred and the determination of who should be held liable. In many truck accident cases, the responsible parties may be out-of-state or foreign corporations.

If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a crash involving a large commercial truck in Albany, Syracuse or elsewhere in New York State, contact us to learn more about how we can help you.