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The American economy runs on the ability of trucks to deliver goods back and forth. Smokey and the Bandit are a huge part of our national folklore. We can say that as we sit in the comfort of our living rooms and toast them with a can of bear on our small screens. For the innocent motorist, though, trucks are a deadly menace on the road.
How prevalent are trucking accidents?
- More than 5,000 trucks are involved in a fatal accident.
- 362 pedestrians are killed in trucking accidents
- 87 cyclists lose their lives as the result of an accident involving a truck
- 56.3 percent of fatalities occur in single vehicle crashes
The highest numbers of trucking accidents come from only three of the 50 American states: California, Florida and Texas. In the State of Illinois, 9.5 percent of fatal road accidents involve large trucks.Why do trucking accidents occur?
You might think that most of these accidents occur in heavy rain, snow and fog. Surprisingly, more than eight out of ten accidents occur in ordinary weather conditions. You might also think they occur at night or in cities, where there is the most traffic. No, two-thirds of fatal accidents happen in rural areas and in the daytime.
The most common driver factor that contributes to road traffic accidents involving trucks is failure to stay in their lane. For those of us who encounter the beasts every day on the roads, this is probably NOT a surprise. The distance from base is probably also as expected, or at least it is evenly distributed. While nearly 19 percent of accidents occur 500 miles away from home, a good 22.6 percent happen within 50 miles of base. In terms of the time of year most accidents occur, February is the worst month, with 402 accidents leading to a death. March, on the other hand, is the lowest month for trucking accidents with only 297 fatal accidents.
While failure to stay in lane is the single most common accident cause (10.9 percent), the other causes are fairly evenly distributed. These include drugs and alcohol (4.3 percent), speeding (4.8 percent), inattentive driver (6.1 percent), failure to yield (4.0 percent), drowsiness (1.6 percent). A surprising few (0.3 percent) are caused by mobile phones.
As you can see from the numbers quoted above, a good 32 percent of trucking accidents are caused by driver negligence. These are very hard facts to swallow when it is your loved one who loses their life as a result. While it may not be the first thing you think of when you get that heart-stopping telephone call or the blue uniforms show up at your door, one of your very first telephone calls should be to a good lawyer with experience in handling claims for deaths and injuries resulting from trucking accidents.
Your Chicago trucking lawyer will immediately get involved in the investigation. It is imperative that someone with your needs and interests in mind be at the scene to gather crucial data that can make or break a court case. Now, while you are calm and lucid, is the best time to look for the right lawyer to call when the need arises.