The constantly expanding amount of information on the internet provides a staggering amount of statistics regarding tractor trailer accidents, both in California and nationwide.
Recently, the National Council on Occupational Safety and Health issued a press release out of San Diego, announcing its report of the “Dirty Dozen” most dangerous employers for 2017. The coalition represents 21 affiliates in 15 states, and its mission is to promote workplace safety. Of the 12 companies included in the report, three have their headquarters in California. One of the dozen included a company responsible for some 10 percent of traffic in the Los Angeles area, according to the report. It was included for various reasons, including the death of one of its drivers during a truck accident.
A related report released recently by the Bureau of Labor statistics found that 745 drivers suffered fatal injuries in the year in which the data was reported, which was reportedly the most of any occupation.
However, as distressing as it is to hear about the risk of injuries or death to tractor trailer drivers, the reality is not surprising. While federal laws may regulate the trucking industry by limiting how many hours drivers can be on the road consecutively and setting other regulations, companies may attempt to circumvent these rules or encourage drivers to deliver their loads on aggressive schedules in order to beat the clock, so to speak. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 5,000 people die each year in truck-related crashes.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), truck driver fatigue contributes to 13 percent of all commercial truck accidents in the U.S.! This could be attributable to the negligible amount of sleep required by law or other considerations posed by heavy trucks.
In 2013, California was the second-most dangerous state in which to drive, with 3,000 fatal traffic accidents that year. Out of those fatal crashes, 249 were crashes involving a large (commercial) truck, according to data from the NHTSA.
Additionally, individual truck drivers themselves can sometimes be to blame for causing tractor trailer accidents. In one recent case, Santos v. Telesis Onion Co., Inc., Cal. Ct. App. (2017), the company itself was not ultimately held liable, since an employment/agency relationship could not be found between the driver and the company named as the defendant. However, according to the decision, the driver who allegedly caused the multiple-fatality accident reportedly had a blood alcohol content of .08 or more, and he was separately charged with vehicular manslaughter, a criminal charge.
Additionally, according to another NHTSA report, nearly 17 percent of all large-truck drivers involved in fatal crashes had at least one prior speeding conviction, compared with nearly 16 percent of passenger car drivers involved in fatal crashes.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed due to a tractor trailer accident in the San Diego area, contact the Rubinstein Law Group today to schedule your free consultation with a San Marcos truck accident attorney. Our attorneys can carefully investigate your case in order to identify all of the parties responsible for your injuries.
Causes of Fatal Truck Accidents, San Diego Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published March 31, 2016
Dangers of Truck Driver Fatigue, San Diego Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published July 28, 2015