If you tense up when a large truck barrels up behind you or passes you on the highway, you are not alone. Most people understand the dangers of sharing the road with tractor-trailers and other large commercial vehicles simply based on their size and speed. When the drivers of those trucks are careless or reckless, it often leads to tragedy.
A recent report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that the anxiety you feel around trucks in not misplaced. In fact, things seem to be getting more dangerous on the roads in Pennsylvania and across the nation. If you lost a loved one or suffered a catastrophic injury in an accident with a truck, you know first-hand how life-changing it can be.
Good news and bad news
Each year, NHTSA compiles data related to fatal accidents across the country and breaks that information down so drivers and safety advocates can understand what they are up against. The detail that may surprise and confuse you is that overall traffic fatalities dropped last year in the following categories:
- Passenger cars
- Pickup trucks
- Alcohol-related accidents
You may agree that it is good news to hear that accidents caused by drunk drivers declined last year. Other categories such as pedestrian and motorcycle deaths not only declined, but they show a trend of declining numbers over the past few years. In fact, the only categories that rose were the number of miles the average driver traveled last year and the number of fatal accidents involving large trucks.
What to do next?
The number of those who died in accidents involving large trucks increased 16 percent last year. Specifically, tractor-trailer deaths went up 5.8 percent and fatal box truck crashes increased almost 19 percent. Of course, statistics may mean little to you. If you lost a loved one in a truck accident or suffered a catastrophic injury, your life will never be the same.
NHTSA authorities who compiled and published the report did not offer an analysis of the data. For example, they did not specifically name distracted driving as the reason for the increase in accidents involving trucks. However, if the driver of the truck that was responsible for your accident acted negligently, you may wonder what your options are for seeking justice. By contacting a personal injury attorney, you may find answers to your questions about the best course of action.