The more you learn about accidents involving commercial trucks, the more you know about crash victims. Government agencies that count truck accidents also spot trends and examine characteristics common to crashes. The National Center for Statistics and Analysis, under the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, is one of those agencies.
NCSA researchers analyzed U.S. semi-truck accidents in 2012. Compared to the previous year, fatal large truck crashes increased 4 percent, up by 140 accidents. On a nationwide scale, that might not seem significant, but bear in mind each accident may have added to the toll of preventable injuries and deaths.
In 2012, large truck accidents injured 104,000 people and claimed the lives of 3,921 people. What do we know about them? Twenty-four percent of the injured survivors and 18 percent of the fatalities were occupants of large trucks, which means 76 percent of the people injured and 82 percent of victims who died were non-motorists or occupied smaller vehicles.
Putting aside fault, you could conclude accurately the greater risk for harm belonged to the people with least amount of protection. Look a bit deeper. In 2012, 18-wheelers trucks accounted for just 4 percent of all registered vehicles, but disproportionately were involved in 8 percent of fatal accidents.
Researchers discovered most large truck accidents happened on weekdays during daytime hours. Analysts also found front-to-front impact crashes dominated truck collisions involving two vehicles, although large trucks were rear-ended at three times the rate of other vehicles.
In 2012, large trucks were involved in 244 fatal accidents in California, totaling 6.4 percent of all fatal semi-truck accidents across the country. Each accident represents a loss of some kind that may be tied to driver negligence.
Civil courts award compensation for truck accident victims, including families who've lost relatives. Claims for damages must be supported by evidence of negligence or recklessness provided by plaintiffs and their attorneys.