In 2021, over 1 in 5 trucking accidents resulted in an injury. Out of approximately 494,000 reported trucking accidents nationwide, over 5,000 reported at least one fatality, according to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration. In Montana, that rate is almost double the national average. Because of their size, trucks and other commercial vehicles can cause more damage to those around them during an accident. Both the rate and severity of trucking accidents are on the rise, and the numbers are increasing each year.
What Causes Trucking Accidents?
- Inattention: Over half of all trucking accidents occur on rural roads and highways. In Montana, we have vast rural highways and interstates. Truckers are often under strict time constraints, forcing them to feel like they must drive no matter what. That leads to skipping breaks and losing focus.
- Distractions: Cell phones are the most common distraction to drivers across the country, and that doesn’t exclude drivers of commercial vehicles. It’s not just phones, though; sneaking in a quick meal, changing the radio, and other distractions are a growing cause of trucking accidents across the country.
- Fatigue: We mentioned time constraints, and while truck drivers must adhere to deadlines, the result is severe fatigue. A cup of coffee or energy drink can only go so far, and we now know that tired driving is nearly as dangerous, if not more, than drunk driving.
- Impairment: Drunk or impaired driving causes devastating collisions, especially when paired with a vehicle the size of a commercial truck. Driving a large truck requires precision and attention, and while truck drivers are required to undergo drug and alcohol audits, that doesn’t stop some from driving impaired.
- Weather: Although only a small percentage of trucking accidents occur due to inclement weather, you can imagine how easy it is to lose control of a truck in a blizzard or on black ice. Weather-related trucking accidents can quickly lead to a multi-car accident involving several vehicles.
- High Speed: Montana has regulated speed limits for semi trucks, but that doesn’t mean all truck drivers follow the regulation. Although trucks aren’t allowed to exceed 65 MPH on roads and 70 MPH on interstates, high speed is often the cause of many trucking accidents. Areas in rural Montana have seen thousands of trucking accidents on highways caused by speeding.
There are several other causes of trucking accidents in Montana. A small mistake or lapse in judgment can result in a multi-car collision. In fact, over 80% of trucking accidents recorded across the United States in 2020 involved multiple vehicles. One of the most serious issues with trucking accidents is how quickly they escalate. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, trucks can weigh 20–30 times more than a passenger vehicle, greatly raising the risk of crashes involving trucks.
What to Do If You Were Injured in a Trucking Accident
Were you or a loved one seriously injured in a trucking accident? AFJ Law Firm is dedicated to helping Montana drivers and passengers who were injured because of the negligence or carelessness of a commercial truck or other vehicle. We advocate for the injured, helping victims and their families receive the compensation they deserve. Contact us now to schedule a free consultation and to see how AFJ Law Firm can help you start your path to justice.