Do Trucks Cause More Accidents Than Cars?

Large trucks are common sights throughout the country, and they are responsible for transporting millions of tons of cargo every day. Unfortunately, truck accidents do happen. When these incidents occur, they tend to be far more devastating than accidents involving smaller passenger cars. Many people wonder which type of vehicle is more dangerous on the road.

How Common Are Truck Accidents?

There are far more passenger vehicles on American roads than tractor-trailers, so accidents involving trucks are inherently less common because there are fewer trucks than cars on the road. However, while truck accidents are less common than car accidents, truck accidents tend to cause much more devastating accidents due to the size and weight of these large vehicles.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, more than 4,000 people died in truck crashes in 2018. That same year the total number of people killed in car accidents was more than 36,000. Truck accidents are far less common than car accidents but far more destructive.

Are Trucks Safer Than Cars?

A fully packed tractor-trailer can weigh many times more than the average passenger vehicle while standing more than 13 feet off the ground. This means they have much higher centers of gravity than standard vehicles. Therefore, they are more vulnerable to momentum shifts. Trucks may have many of the same safety features as typical cars to keep drivers safe, but the reality is that these vehicles are inherently some of the most dangerous on the roads.

How Many Truck Driver Deaths in Crashes Are the Result of Truck Rollovers?

The high center of gravity of a tractor-trailer means that these large trucks are more vulnerable to rollovers when drivers take turns too sharply or overcorrect their steering. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that truck rollover accidents are responsible for roughly 100 deaths each year, some of which are drivers. In contrast, others are drivers and passengers of other vehicles involved.

Are Trucks Safer in a Crash for the Driver and Passengers?

When it comes to which type of vehicle is more dangerous on the road, the reality is that crashes can happen at any time. Though truck accidents are rarer, they tend to result in much more damage. The safety of any vehicle depends not only on the mechanical integrity of the vehicle, road quality, and driving conditions but also on the skill, attention, and responsibility of the person operating the vehicle.

Larger vehicles are inherently more durable in accidents than smaller and lighter passenger cars due to simple physics. While a truck driver may be better insulated from a crash than the driver of a passenger vehicle, the reality is that any crash is capable of causing significant property losses, catastrophic injuries, and fatalities. All drivers have a duty of care to operate their vehicles safely. However, truck drivers who operate large vehicles for work have a higher duty of care due to their professional status.

Common Causes of Truck Accidents

Truck accidents happen throughout the United States for many reasons:

  • Truck drivers can make serious errors in the handling of their vehicles. Driver error can also cause accidents when drivers do not follow appropriate procedures for hours of service or when they operate their vehicles under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • A trucking company may absorb liability for a trucking accident if they failed to properly vet a driver, did not perform an adequate background check on a driver responsible for a negligent accident, or otherwise failed to uphold their professional duty to ensure their drivers were properly vetted and trained.
  • Maintenance issues may also cause truck accidents. In the event a party responsible for maintaining a tractor-trailer failed to adequately perform necessary maintenance, that party could face liability if a mechanical issue they should have addressed is determined to be the cause of the accident.
  • Some truck accidents occur due to the actions of other drivers around the truck. In this situation, anyone injured in the accident could potentially file a claim against the responsible driver.
  • Severe weather can be more dangerous for larger vehicles than smaller ones. For example, a tractor-trailer with an empty trailer is more vulnerable to strong gusts of wind and may fall over. Low visibility from severe storms can also be very dangerous for drivers of large tractor-trailers.
  • Poor road conditions can be extremely dangerous, but roads are maintained by government agencies at the state and federal levels. If a truck accident occurs because of a damaged road, the government agency responsible for maintaining it is technically liable. However, filing a claim for damages against a government agency is very different from filing a claim against a private individual or company.

These are just a few of the most common ways truck accidents happen all over the country. In the event you sustain injuries and other damages in a truck accident, determining the exact cause is one of the most important steps toward securing recovering your losses. An experienced truck accident lawyer is one of the best assets you can have if you need to pursue any claim for damages after a truck accident.

Why You Need Legal Counsel

Truck accidents are very different from standard passenger vehicle accidents, causing much more severe injuries and more costly property losses. Additionally, liability isn’t always clear in a truck accident, and some truck accidents and implicate multiple parties as liable for a serious accident. Due to the substantial damages that could be at stake in your case and the difficulty that often presents itself in proving liability, legal representation is essential if you want to pursue a legal claim for recovery after a truck accident.

The Law Offices of Susan Handel offers reliable and compassionate legal assistance to victims of truck accidents in the San Diego area. We have the experience to find the evidence you need to establish liability for your losses and hold responsible parties accountable. If you need legal counsel after such an accident, contact us today to learn more about how our firm can help you recover compensation for your losses.