Large Truck Crash Statistics

“There were 13.65 fatal large truck crashes per million people in the United States in 2019, a 29-percent increase from 10.6 in 2010,” according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). (1)

FMCSA says, “Of the approximately 510,000 police-reported crashes involving large trucks in 2019, there were 4,479 (1 percent) fatal crashes and 114,000 (29 percent) injury crashes.” (2)

Accident statistics for some popular delivery companies are even more jarring.

FedEx Express and UPS Statistics

For example, consider the statistics for FedEx Express and UPS.

“In the 24-month period before Dec. 3 of this year, FedEx Express drivers were reported to have been involved in 1762 crashes, 575 involving injuries, including 41 deaths. From 2012, the number of crashes has increased by 254.5 percent; the number of injuries has increased by 192 percent; and the number of fatalities has increased by 273 percent,” according to a December 2017 Fox News report. (3)

Fox News continues, “In the same period, UPS drivers were reported to have been involved in 2,003 crashes, 689 involving injuries, including 49 deaths. Since 2012, the number of crashes has increased by 38 percent; the number of injures has increased by 27 percent; and the number of fatalities has increased by 25.6 percent.” (4)

Obviously, a large city like New York City (NYC) relies heavily on delivery trucks to move goods into, out of, and throughout the city. In fact, “90% of goods transported in the city everyday are on trucks,” says a city report on truck management. (5)

NYC Truck Accidents

The NYC truck management report provides this snapshot of crashes and accidents involving trucks in the city: (6)

  • Crashes totaled 55,134 from 2003-2016. Of these, in 2,407 crashes people were killed or severely injured (KSI).
  • The most incidents with pedestrian and cyclist KSIs occurred in Manhattan (42%), Brooklyn (29%), and Queens (18%).
  • Of these pedestrian and cyclist KSI crashes, 67% occurred on designated truck routes.
  • Almost 80% of KSI crashes occurred between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
  • The top five truck types in KSI crashes are tractor trailers, delivery trucks, dump trucks, utility trucks, and tow trucks.

In an effort to avoid more delivery truck accidents, the causes of such accidents have been scrutinized by both governments and the insurance industry.

If you or anyone you know has been involved in a delivery truck accident, contact us for a free case evaluation.

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Causes of Delivery Truck Accidents

“Commercial and delivery trucks present unique dangers to smaller vehicles on the road,” says Charlotte Stories Newsletter, an online publication. (7)

“Minor errors such as not signaling before passing can increase the risk for accidents, especially on highways where eighteen-wheeler trucks might be present at high speeds,” adds the Newsletter. (8)

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) notes, “Truck braking capability can be a factor in truck crashes.” (9) IIHS explains, “Loaded tractor-trailers take 20-40 percent farther than cars to stop, and the discrepancy is greater on wet and slippery roads or with poorly maintained brakes.” (10)

Other accident causes include:

  • Distracted driving. Drivers who spend long hours behind the wheel can become bored. This is especially true in rural areas where stopping points are fewer and further between. Eating, texting, adjusting controls, or reaching for something can take attention away from the road ahead, with deadly consequences. (11)
  • Driver fatigue from long shifts. In 2019, 34% of deaths in large truck crashes occurred on interstates and freeways. Many truck drivers get tired because they exceed the 11-hour limit without stopping to rest they are allowed. IIHS research indicates many drivers disregard this regulation, especially if they have a tight schedule to meet. (12)
  • Improper cargo loading. A truck’s load can affect the vehicle’s performance, even causing it to topple over. Also, the load it is carrying can affect maneuverability. “Improperly loaded vehicles or those that exceed the weight rating will have a dramatic effect on performance. Steering, maneuverability, braking and acceleration are all affected.” (13)
  • Poor training. Commercial vehicle drivers must meet a required number of training hours. These requirements include maneuvering, driving during inclement weather, and how to adjust for various road conditions. Yet, drivers have been known to circumvent these requirements. Drivers who fail to comply put themselves and others on the road at risk. (14)
  • Speeding. Many delivery companies hold their drivers to strict schedules with very tight delivery times. Drivers who fear losing their jobs because of unmet delivery deadlines may choose to increase their speed beyond what is safe for their truck and the road conditions. (15)

Drivers of delivery trucks and the companies they work for are responsible for maintaining trucks and equipment, following safety procedures, obeying traffic laws, complying with federal regulations, and meeting training requirements. Failure to do so makes them liable for injuries resulting from accidents.

Common Injuries from Delivery Truck Accidents

Among the common injuries sustained in delivery truck accidents are:

  • Head injuries — There is “a vast array of injuries that occur to the scalp, skull, brain, and underlying tissue and blood vessels in the head.” (16) Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are the result of a sudden physical impact causing damage. “The severity of a brain injury can range from a mild concussion to a severe injury that results in coma or even death,” Johns Hopkins Medicine explains. (17)
  • Spinal injuries — Vehicle crashes cause 38.2% of spinal cord injuries according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC). The Center says, “the annual incidence of spinal cord injury (SCI) is approximately 54 cases per one million people in the United States, which equals about 17,900 new SCI cases each year.” (18)
  • Broken bones, fractures — Types of fractures include: a break going completely through the bone (complete), leaving a gap where it occurs (displaced), not going all the way through the bone (partial), and where the bone is cracked (stress). Additionally, bones may be shattered (comminuted), crushed (compressed), or driven together (impacted) by the force of the crash. (19) Perhaps the most serious is an open fracture where the bone penetrates the skin. This allows bacteria to enter and cause infection. “An open fracture is a surgical emergency,” according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. (20)
  • Burn injuries — Overall burn injury related hospitalizations totaled 40,000 in 2010; 30,000 of those admissions were to hospital burn centers) Between 2005 and 2014, 5% of all burn center admissions were for injuries occurring on our nation’s streets and highways according to the American Burn Association. (21)
  • Death —There were a total of 4,119 deaths in crashes involving trucks in 2019. “Ninety-seven percent of vehicle occupants killed in two-vehicle crashes involving a passenger vehicle and a large truck in 2019 were occupants of the passenger vehicles.” (22)

For a free case evaluation and more information about your legal options for your delivery truck accident, please contact us today.

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Legal Options

If you have been seriously injured in a delivery truck accident, you should consider all of your legal options.

Companies such as Amazon, FedEx, and UPS hire independent contractors to handle deliveries. This helps them avoid liability for accidents. Your case may be against the drivers and any contracting company they work for rather than Amazon, FedEx, or UPS.

In personal injury cases, legal responsibility for an accident (liability) entitles the “harmed party” to collect a monetary award (damages). (23)

There are two primary types of damages awarded: compensatory and punitive. Compensatory damages “are intended to compensate the injured party for loss or injury,” while punitive damages “are awarded to punish a wrongdoer.” (24)

Demonstrating liability to the court is complicated. The services of a knowledgeable and experienced attorney can prove invaluable.

How W&L Can Help

Weitz & Luxenberg has a long history of success in personal injury cases, as these examples illustrate:

  • W&L won a major verdict in a hit-and-run case leaving our client paralyzed. He was awarded $20.5 million plus another $3 million for past and future medical expenses.
  • W&L secured a $1.4 million settlement for our client who suffered catastrophic injuries after being struck by a city ambulance in Manhattan.
  • W&L won a $2.96 million verdict for our client who lost part of his leg in a workplace incident due to the negligence of a coworker driving a hi-lo. Also relevant is the company had a workspace designed without adequate barriers for vehicles.