The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provides annual reports on the number of crashes that occur, and that result in traffic fatalities. Truck crashes are among the statistics reported to the NHTSA each year. Thousands of large trucks drive through the State of Indiana every day and through the central Indianapolis area. Indianapolis, Indiana, a central U.S. location, provides the freeway access many truck drivers need when driving across the state or the country. Unfortunately, many truck crashes injure drivers or passengers in other vehicles. Traffic fatalities on roadways in Indiana and Indianapolis sometimes involve large trucks.
The safety issues surrounding the trucking industry do not go unnoticed by the federal government. The U.S. Transportation Secretary recently stated that “We face a crisis” on roadways across America. That crisis also affects drivers and passengers in vehicles in Indianapolis. You do not have to fight big trucking companies to get the compensation likely due to you or your loved one involved in a crash with a truck driver who is at fault for the accident. Contacting an Indiana Truck Accident Lawyer with a history of winning truck accident cases starts you on your way towards getting the compensation you deserve for your injuries or the death of your loved one.
Crash Statistics Involving Truck Drivers
Crash statistics provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show an increase in the fatalities that occurred in 2021 that involved at least one truck. The NHTSA reported a 13 percent increase in fatalities involving one or more trucks compared to the previous year. The fatalities in multi-vehicle crashes, which sometimes involve large trucks, increased by 16 percent in the same year.
The Indiana University Public Policy Institute indicates that there were 175,821 Indiana collisions reported in 2020, and of those crashes reported, 14,221, or eight percent, involved commercial vehicles. An estimated 90 percent of the commercial vehicles were large trucks.
One hundred thirty-four fatal collisions involved commercial vehicles. The number of commercial vehicle fatalities equaled 17 percent of all traffic fatalities within the state during the year.
Consider the size of large commercial vehicles, compared to passenger vehicles, on Indiana roadways, including in Indianapolis. Although there has been a slight decrease in the number of crashes in the State of Indiana over the past few years, the fact remains that being involved in a crash with a truck often results in serious injuries or fatalities.
Injuries and Fatalities Involving Large Trucks
You are not wrong if you believe that the majority of people killed in crashes involving trucks are people who are in passenger vehicles. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) explains that the most deaths in crashes with large trucks are occupants of passenger vehicles.
The institute points to the fact that large trucks typically weigh an average of 20 to 30 times more than passenger vehicles. Trucks are taller than passenger cars and have a “gr” ater ground clearance.” T” ucks frequently travel long distances across Indiana highways and Indianapolis roadways. It does not matter whether a large truck passes through Indianapolis on its way to another destination or whether the large truck has a load to deliver or pick up in Indianapolis. The large trucks still pose a potential risk to the safety of other people, including those in passenger vehicles.
Injuries that occur when you or a loved one is involved in a crash with a large truck are often catastrophic. Multiple injuries frequently occur when a person experiences injuries during a crash with a commercial vehicle or other large truck. There is a greater risk of fatalities if the truck driver commits violations while driving a vehicle many times larger than other vehicles.
The Indiana University Public Policy Institute report revealed that collisions occur primarily during the Monday through Friday work week. This is a time when many large trucks travel across IndIndiana’sadways. Truck crashes in Indianapolis often occur during this period. The report also reveals the sad truth about the catastrophic injury and death statistics when a large truck crash occurs. Persons who are not in the commercial vehicle are more likely to be injured or killed compared to the driver or other occupants of the commercial vehicle. The non-commercial vehicle drivers and occupants comprised 74 percent of the individuals killed in the 2020 crashes with commercial vehicles.
Indiana as a Global Area of Transportation
The Indiana Department of Transportation touts the State of Indiana as a “global center of transportation and logistics” of the century. The fact that the state sits as a Crossroads of America makes it an important location for freight movement across cities like Indianapolis and the country.
The Department of Transportation indicates that Indiana is the fifth busiest state in the country for commercial freight traffic. The fact that Indiana is such a strategic location for freight movement means that more large trucks are traveling the roads compared to some other states.
The State of Indiana Department of Transportation welcomes truckers to Indiana’s transportation system and routes. The state expects truck drivers to obey the state’s laws and the regulations that truck drivers are required to abide by under the Department of Transportation Rules and Regulations. The agency explains that the rules and regulations do not apply only to trucking companies but also to individual truck drivers.
How Do Most Indianapolis Truck Crashes Occur?
Several causes of truck crashes across the country are also the reason for the majority of truck crashes in Indianapolis and throughout Indiana. This is why the truck driver is often found to be the driver to blame when crashes involving large trucks occur.
The number one cause of truck crashes involves traffic violations. Contributing violations attributed to the commercial vehicle in 2020 included unsafe lane movement, following too closely, improper turning or lane usage, and failure to yield the right of way.
Some other traffic-related causes attributed to driver-related causes of truck crashes include speeding, driving too fast for weather conditions, and distracted drivers. Disregarding traffic signals, road signs, and improper passing were some other major traffic violations that often caused crashes involving large trucks in Indiana during 2020.
Driver Fatigue Still Exists Today
Laws and regulations that require drivers to take breaks or sleep time do not always prevent crashes with large trucks. Truck drivers can apply to drive for longer times.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) indicates that truck drivers are permitted to drive 11 hours after ten consecutive hours off duty. Truck drivers can drive for 10 hours after eight consecutive hours off duty.
Truck drivers are required to take a 30-minute break after eight cumulative hours of driving a truck. A driver is not permitted to drive a truck after they have been on duty for 15 hours, which follows eight hours of consecutive off-duty time.
Drivers who do not obey these rules may cause a crash that injures one or more people in a motor vehicle or causes another person’s death.
An Overloaded Truck is a Danger on Indianapolis Roadways
Overloading trucks is illegal, yet it occurs, including when a driver drives a semi-truck or other large truck. The idea is that if I deliver more goods, I may make more money. The risk is that overloaded trucks are a primary cause of truck crashes.
Lack of Proper Maintenance
The lack of proper maintenance is another primary cause of truck crashes. The poor maintenance of some trucks causes mechanical failures on Indiana roadways. Traffic violations may occur because of maintenance issues. Failure to provide consistent maintenance increases the possibility of a crash.
Reports indicate that a large number of fatal crashes involving large trucks or commercial vehicles occurred because of drivers overcorrecting or oversteering the truck.
Distracted driving committed by truck drivers was responsible for more than 36 percent of the multi-vehicle crashes in Indiana in 2020, where the commercial vehicle was a factor in the crash.
The truck driver who decides to use their cell phone or other devices while driving is a risk to Indianapolis drivers on the road at the same time as the truck.
Driving under the Influence
Drivers who drive under the influence of alcohol or other drugs are a serious risk to motorists in Indianapolis and throughout the State of Indiana.
A large vehicle becomes a serious hazard, which may increase the risk of serious injuries or fatal crashes involving a truck when the driver is under the influence.
Drivers who want to get to their next destination so that they can unload and pick up a new load of goods to travel to their next location may ignore speed limits, traffic signals, or signs and may drive recklessly on Indianapolis highways and roadways.
Reckless driving causes a large number of crashes, including crashes that involve trucks. Tailgating, swerving in and out of traffic attempting to pass in front of other vehicles increase the risk of truck drivers causing a crash that results in injuries or death to people in other vehicles.
Let Your Truck Accident Attorney Work for You
Do not let yourself or a loved one experience injuries or death caused by a collision with a truck without seeking compensation. The laws provide those truck drivers or the companies they work for who cause crashes in Indiana are likely obligated to provide compensation for people who are not at fault in the crash.
Crash injuries that occur because of a crash with a large truck often have life-altering implications. The individual who experiences the injuries may have a concussion, broken or fractured bones, or permanent injuries to the spinal column, the brain, or the extremities. Loved ones may perish either at the time of the crash or may die sometime after the crash.
It is difficult for a person who is not a lawyer to go up against big trucking companies after a truck crash. Do you know where to file charges? What type of charges do you file? Who do you file charges against after a crash that involved a truck? What are the other legal procedures? Do you know the regulations governing trucks and truck drivers?
Your experienced truck accident attorney knows laws and regulations about trucking companies and their drivers. The experienced attorney knows who to file charges against, who to contact to try to reach a settlement, and what to do if the trucking company or driver refuses to admit responsibility and provide you or your loved one the compensation that they deserve.
The attorney lets you know what happens every step of the way. You are kept in the loop about everything, from whether you have a case to whether you have a chance of winning your truck accident case. An experienced attorney meets with you, listens to details about what happened, and determines details that help to win the case.
Your attorney performs a thorough investigation, gathers relevant evidence, and hires experts relevant to your particular case. One example is an accident reconstruction expert who reconstructs the crash and then testifies on your behalf.
Your truck accident lawyer negotiates with all the insurance agencies and attempts to reach an agreeable settlement. Reaching a settlement provides you with the compensation you deserve and avoids going to court. Sometimes a settlement is not reached, and the case proceeds to a trial. The attorney representing you argues your case to obtain the best possible outcome for you or your loved one.
Do not talk to anyone who contacts you other than your attorney. Let the attorney know if you receive any communications from the trucking company or an insurance company other than your insurance agency and agent. Contact an attorney that has a lengthy history of winning truck accident cases.