Trucking accidents are a serious problem on our highways, throughout Pennsylvania and the rest of the country. Because of the size and speed of semi trucks, even a relatively minor collision can lead to catastrophic injury or death. Learning more about these accidents can help to prevent them from occurring in the future.
A study by DriveCam examined driving data from over 2 billion miles, covering 18 million accidents or near misses from 2009. Cameras recorded the driver's reactions inside the vehicle, as well as the accident itself. Using footage from actual accidents showed real-time driver behavior before crashes, and helped pinpoint some causes and trends.
Some key facts from DriveCam's study:
- The day of the week matters - 21 percent of accidents or near accidents happened on Tuesdays, while 20 percent occurred on Fridays.
- The time of day is also important - most of the incidents happened after 9 a.m., with nine percent happening between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m.
- The time of year plays a major part - from January to June, incident rates hover from one to five percent. From July through November, rates nearly triple, ranging from 14 to 18 percent.
The rules of probability teach us that the more people on the roads, the more accidents there will be. Since summer finds more people on the roads taking roadtrips and fall and winter find families traveling to relatives' houses during the holiday season, it seems reasonable that more accidents happen the latter half of the year. Creating awareness of the problem is a key first step toward reducing truck-accident rates.
Increasing Awareness, Improving Truck-Driver Safety
According to Del Lisk, DriveCam's Vice President of Safety Services, trucking accidents have three main causes: distracted driving, tailgating and not looking far enough down the road.
Driver distraction has received most of the recent legislative attention when it comes to reducing truck-accident rates. Many federal and state trucking regulations are already in place to make our roadways safer, including the federal ban on texting for all commercial truck drivers that was passed earlier this year, in January 2010.
While there is currently not a state-wide Pennsylvania law specifically regulating a truck driver's general cellphone use, some Pennsylvania municipalities have passed their own rules. Any driver caught using a phone or texting could face high fines, which could impact a trucking company's safety ratings. By making driver attention a high priority, the number of accidents should decrease, making roads safer for everyone. If you or a loved one has been hurt in an accident involving a commercial truck, contact an experienced personal injury attorney to find out if you are entitled to compensation.