How Many Semi Truck Accidents Per Year?

truck accident lawyer california

There are over 4 million semi trucks operating in the United States, with 70,000 drivers in California alone. The vastness of the state provides truck drivers with several routes, with many traveling through Los Angeles and San Francisco. These vehicles and their drivers are a fundamental part of the supply chain, as more than 70% of goods and supplies our country requires is transported this way. So, with this much freight on the roads each and every day, it comes as no surprise that accidents happen. If you’ve been involved in a truck accident, you may be eligible for compensation. Truck accidents can incur medical costs, lost wages, serious injuries, and also claim many lives each year. Seeking legal assistance quickly is important because once the clock starts ticking on California’s accident statute of limitations, the time you have to claim compensation dwindles. That’s why it’s crucial to have the best truck accident lawyer California on your side, like those at Point Law Group, LLP.

How Frequently Do Truck Accidents Occur?

The short answer? Far too regularly. There are around 388,000 truck accidents per year nationally. In 2021, the United States saw over 5,600 fatalities in large truck-related accidents which is an uptick of 13% from 2020 findings, according to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In terms of truck accidents that occur in the state of California, it is the second leading state in the US for truck accidents, following Texas. While the number of semi truck accidents in the state aren’t exact, more than 3,000 result in injuries and nearly 400 in fatalities in the year 2020. Los Angeles is believed to be one of the leading California cities for truck accidents, as LA leads the state in vehicle accidents, occurring over four times more frequently than in San Francisco.

What Causes Truck Accidents?

Semi trucks pose a hazard to their drivers, but more often, it’s other drivers and passengers on the road that face the greatest risk, making up the majority of fatalities in truck-related accidents. The sheer size and weight of a semi truck (around 16 times the weight of an average passenger vehicle) means there is a greater stopping distance, larger blind spots, and wider turning circles are needed when operating the vehicles. This in itself can heighten risk on the road, but what is it that causes the majority of semi truck accidents?

  • Fatigue: Tiredness behind the wheel is a leading cause of accidents, as truck drivers tend to work very long hours without enough sleep due to their schedules. Studies show that sleep deprivation can drastically impact one’s driving abilities with decreased attention and reaction times. The National Safety Council even stated, “Driving after going more than 20 hours without sleep is the equivalent of driving with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08%… You are three times more likely to be in a car crash if you are fatigued.”Due to the risk, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration instituted laws around the number of hours a truck operator can be on duty at a time, topping out at 14 hours at a time with a mandatory 10 hour break in between.
  • Distracted Driving: Another leading cause of semi truck accidents throughout the country is distracted driving, with 30 states having banned the use of handheld devices while operating a vehicle on the road. While hands-free devices are common, among drivers, this doesn’t necessarily prevent distractions as drivers often use their phones to navigate or have phone calls, which can divert attention from the road.
  • Speeding or Reckless Driving: Due to the amount of pressure some drivers are under, it’s not uncommon for semi truck drivers to speed or drive recklessly. Whether they’re trying to make up for lost time or meet an impending deadline, there are many reasons they might drive offensively rather than defensively, but ultimately, it endangers those on the road.
  • Weather Conditions: The Federal Highway Administration says around 22% of vehicle accidents are caused by weather conditions. Rain, snow, fog, sleet, and ice are common weather-related hazards when driving — and for California in particular, smoke from fires can reduce visibility on the road, too. With a heavy vehicle and freight in tow, poor weather conditions can be especially difficult to maneuver.
  • Poor Road Conditions: When driving on a poorly maintained road, drivers need to be especially cautious of dangerous roads, debris, and construction zones. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 33% of fatal work zone crashes in 2019 involved a commercial vehicle. When you combine poor road conditions with a sleep-deprived driver, the result can be disastrous.
  • Mechanical Defects: This is another very common cause of truck accidents because there’s a realm of faults that can occur within the semi truck itself. Issues with tires, wheels, and breaks are most common, and while trucks go through a thorough check before setting off, transmission, steering, and suspension are also sometimes mechanical defects that can cause an accident.
  • DUI: Driving under the influence is an obvious danger to yourself, passengers, and others on the road. Truck drivers aren’t permitted to drink alcohol within four hours of setting off on the road, however alcohol and drug testing isn’t typically mandated unless a truck driver is directly involved in an accident. When testing is done though, this is an easily proven breach of duty of care.

Hiring Truck Accident Lawyer California

Were you injured in a semi truck accident and need legal representation? Proving liability and claiming compensation for an injury or wrongful death can be difficult, but we at Point Law Group, LLP are here to help. Inexperienced attorneys can fumble cases and leave you without the compensation you deserve, which is why you need a trusted Los Angeles truck accident attorney fighting for you. Call us today for a 100% free consultation at (310)560-0606 and we’ll seek justice with you until the end.

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