There are more than 3.5 million large truck drivers in the U.S. that drive 2,000 to 3,000 miles per week on average. Commercial truck drivers are held to a higher standard than someone driving a passenger vehicle. They must obtain commercial driver’s licenses and complete a skills test in Virginia. But these extra requirements do not always translate to safer roads. Every day, truck drivers cause dangerous accidents because of driver error. Roughly 90% — by some estimates, up to 96% — of collisions are preventable and occur because someone made a poor decision. No one wants to get into an accident, but you are likelier to walk away after a crash between two passenger vehicles. Trucking accidents are more deadly and often cause life-altering injuries. If you have been injured in a trucking accident, a Virginia trucking accident attorney can help.
What Truck Accident Statistics Show Us
Analyzing state and national data gives us a look into how often trucking accidents occur and the factors that contribute to crashes. The 2022 Virginia Traffic Crash Facts report from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles explores how many large trucks were involved in crashes last year. Here is some of what they found:
- There were 2,981 large truck crashes in Virginia last year.
- 60 of the crashes were fatal, and 844 caused injuries.
- Multi-vehicle crashes were more likely to end in fatalities.
The report also examines the actions truck drivers took that led to collisions. Only a fraction of drivers were under the influence of drugs or alcohol (0.2%), but they behaved recklessly in other ways.
Improper Lane Changes: The most common named infraction was improper lane changes. Trucks have large blind spots, making it difficult to see other cars on the road. Truck drivers must be cautious when changing lanes, or they risk causing a collision with a smaller vehicle.
Following Too Closely: This is one of Virginia’s most frequent large truck driver errors. It takes 40% longer for a semi-truck to come to a complete stop than a passenger vehicle. If a truck follows another car closely and traffic unexpectedly stops, they’ll almost certainly rear-end the vehicle.
Improper Turn: Failing to signal before making a turn, making a U-turn illegally, and turning from the wrong lane are all examples of improper turns. Sometimes a truck driver may not realize their mistake until it is too late.
Speeding: Going too fast is dangerous regardless of your vehicle, but it is hazardous for truck drivers. If a truck driver is speeding and traffic slows, they may be unable to stop. Speeding also increases the chance that a driver will lose control of their trailer.
Hit and Run: Troublingly, 84 large truck drivers were involved in hit-and-run crashes last year. Truck drivers are educated extensively on best practices for the road, but some of them choose to disregard their duty after an accident.
Reducing Driver Error
With proper training and behavioral changes, truck drivers can reduce their errors. Going the speed limit, remaining alert and sober, and avoiding distractions are all ways to prevent trucking accidents from happening. Car drivers can also take measures to lessen the chances of a collision with a commercial truck. If you see a large truck on the road, give it space and avoid the driver’s most significant blind spot on the truck’s right side. Trucks sometimes travel slower than other vehicles, and it can be tempting to speed up to pass a truck — but passing can leave you in a truck’s blind spot.
Even if you take every precaution to stay safe on the road, you may still be involved in a large truck accident. The days after a collision are often overwhelming, and you may be focused on medical care and vehicle repairs. In the worst-case scenario, you may be grieving the loss of a loved one killed in a truck crash. Hiring a Virginia truck accident attorney is essential to ensure you get the compensation you need. A lawyer can help determine fault and who’s responsible for the crash and gather evidence to support their conclusions. They can also help you prepare a case to get compensated for past and future medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, emotional distress, wrongful death, and other losses you may experience due to a crash.
If you are a victim of a Virginia truck accident, contact Curcio Law. Our firm will fight for you to get fair compensation for your injuries. We stand up to truck drivers, companies, manufacturers, and other responsible parties. Contact us online or call or text us at 703-836-3366 to schedule a free consultation.
Justin Curcio joined Curcio Law in January 2020. Justin received his J.D. from St. John’s University School of Law in 2015. After passing the Virginia Bar in 2015, Justin was in-house counsel for an insurance defense firm (Allstate/Esurance/Encompass) for over four years before joining Curcio Law. During law school, he worked for the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office and the law firm of Bartlett, McDonough & Monaghan, LLP. Contact Justin at firstname.lastname@example.org.