Truck Accident Facts for Georgia Drivers
Truck accidents are a major contributor to injuries and deaths on roadways across the United States, and Georgia is no exception. These commercial trucks – known as big-rigs, semis, and tractor-trailers – make many drivers nervous, as their size and weight are reasonably formidable.
One of the best ways to reduce the likelihood of being involved in an auto accident with a commercial truck is to be aware of where these accidents are most likely to occur, common causes for truck accidents, and ways to stay safe while sharing the road.
Truck Accident Facts for Georgia Drivers
Here in Georgia, and especially around Metro Atlanta, commercial trucks are a common sight. Major roadways like Interstate 20, Interstate 85, and Highway 27 are frequent routes for commercial drivers. While traveling along any Georgia roadway, it is important to understand the nature of commercial trucks and how to stay safe.
Let’s take a look at some of the most important truck accident facts for Georgia drivers to help all of us be a little safer on Georgia roadways.
Truck Accident Statistics
In 2015, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reported a total of 2,746,882 tractor-trailers registered throughout the U.S. These trucks traveled more than 279 billion miles in transport of manufactured products, building materials, hazardous materials, mail and packages, agricultural materials, and much more. How many of these trucks were involved in accidents? Let’s take a look:
- In 2015, across the U.S., there were 476,000 auto accidents involving commercial trucks.
- More than 3,800 of all truck accidents resulted in a death.
- In 2015, there were 182 accidents involving a large truck that resulted in death. That is higher than the number of similar accidents over the previous five years.
- Of the 182 fatal truck accidents, only 26 fatalities were among occupants of the truck itself. That accounts for only two percent of fatalities by occupant type.
Truck accidents may not occur as frequently as auto accidents involving only passenger cars, but they are more dangerous and catastrophic due to the nature of size, weight, and heavy loads often carried.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
While tractor-trailers seem formidable due to their size and weight, there are numerous factors that contribute to truck accidents, including driver error, malfunctions, and other factors. Here are some of the most common causes of truck accidents:
Factors Related to the Driver:
Driver error or improper behavior while behind the wheel is one of the most common causes of truck accidents. Tractor-trailer drivers must be aware of their environment and surroundings at all times. Factors like road hazards or construction or poor weather conditions can all impact how drivers respond. The following are some of the most common factors that relate to a truck driver:
- Driver fatigue or falling asleep while driving
- Driver illness or sudden onset of a medical emergency
- Driver distraction or inattention
- Driving too fast for road or weather conditions
- Failure to adjust driving speed or maneuvering for curvy roads or steep inclines
- Driving too close to other vehicles
- Aggressive driving
- Failure to obey traffic laws, speed limits, or traffic signals
- Overcompensating while maneuvering
- Poor driving skills or inadequate training
Factors Related to the Vehicle:
Commercial trucks are required to undergo routine inspection and maintenance. Failure to comply with regulations can result in potentially dangerous conditions. Some of the most common vehicle related factors that lead to truck accidents include:
- Wheel or tire malfunction
- Brake damage or failure
- Steering failure
- Suspension system failure
- Shifts in cargo load
Staying Safe While Sharing the Road
Now that we have discussed how frequently truck accidents occur, and the many factors that contribute to these accidents, we must consider the ways that drivers can stay safe while sharing the road with large trucks. Here are some tips to help drivers stay safe and hopefully avoid being involved in a truck accident:
- Avoid Blind Spots: Tractor-trailers have several areas of limited visibility for the driver. Known as “blind spots”, these areas are:
- Directly in front of the truck
- Directly behind the truck
- Directly adjacent to the driver’s side door
- Adjacent, within two lanes, of the passenger side door
- Leave Room: Large trucks require more time and room to stop than smaller vehicles. When braking in front of, or behind, a truck, make sure to leave enough room to allow the truck to safely come to a stop.
- Pass Safely: When passing a tractor-trailer, make sure you leave plenty of room. Avoid lingering in blind spots, and always use your blinkers. Remember that if you cannot see the driver in his or her mirrors, he or she likely cannot see you approaching.
- Stay Back: While we would all love to say that we never drive while distracted, the fact is that most of us have had to come to a sudden stop because we were distracted and did not see another vehicle or obstacle in our path. When traveling around tractor-trailers, stay back far enough that if a sudden stop is required, you don’t find yourself lodged underneath the tall bumper or tail of the truck.
- Watch for Turns: Be aware of large trucks around you, and take caution when you see their blinkers on. Tractor-trailers require much more space when turning. As a general rule, the space required is around 55 feet. Trucks must swing wide, which may put them in the path of oncoming traffic lanes.
- Do Not Take Your Driving Skills for Granted: You may be an excellent driver with no history of citations or accidents, but you cannot take that for granted when driving around others. Always be aware, and remember the following to help you stay safe:
- Stay focused and avoid distractions
- Avoid driving while fatigued
- Never drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs (even certain prescription drugs)
- Always wear your seatbelt, and urge your passengers to do the same
- Be patient when driving in congested areas
Getting Help after a Truck Accident
If you or someone you love has been injured in a truck accident, you may find it helpful to contact our Atlanta truck accident lawyer to learn more about protecting your legal rights. Contact The Dixon Firm to find out more about your legal rights and how to get compensation for your injuries.