Each year, safety advocacy organizations release data on motor vehicle accidents, including those that involve commercial trucks. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) classifies commercial trucks as those weighing at least 10,000 pounds. The accident data for trucking accidents is concerning for the entire U.S., and for the state of Georgia.
The NHTSA data claims that there were 5,601 truck-involved fatalities in 2021, compared to 4,965 the previous year. That was 13 percent more than in 2020, and many of these happened on rural roads. This was the biggest increase since 2005, and some feel that this is a crisis-level issue.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) also studies truck crashes, with the most recent data from 2020. That year, there were 310,000 property damage-only crashes in the U.S. Out of those, 230,00 were classified as Impact with Vehicle in Transport, and 40,000 were Impact with Fixed Object. 17,000 accidents involved parked vehicles.
That same year, there were 101,000 non-fatal large truck accidents. Eighty-one thousand involved other vehicles, 10,000 involved fixed objects, and 1,000 were with pedestrians and bicyclists. There were 4,444 fatal truck accidents in 2020. For this category, 71.6 percent were with moving vehicles, 10.2 percent with fixed objects, and 9.6 percent (452 accidents) were pedestrian deaths.
The NHTSA claimed that there were about 900 traffic fatalities in Georgia in the first half of 2022. This gives the state the dubious distinction of having the 14th highest traffic fatality rate in the country. The most recent NHTSA data from 2016 to 2020 shows that 13.8 percent of Georgia’s road fatalities are caused by truck accidents.
The average size of an 18-wheeler is roughly 72 feet long, 13.5 feet high, and 8.5 feet wide; when fully loaded they can weigh more than 80,000 pounds. Passenger cars and trucks are much smaller: The average length is 14.7 feet, and the median weight is 4,094 pounds.
Given those size and weight discrepancies, it is easy to see why truck accidents are so dangerous. The enormous weight of these trucks makes the stopping distances longer, too. A car traveling at 65 mph needs about 300 feet to stop, while a fully loaded tractor trailer needs twice that amount of space. When weather conditions are poor, those distances need to be even longer.
Truck accidents are caused by drivers, truck problems, and trucking companies and their vendors. The main reasons for these crashes include:
These systems are equipped with cameras, sensors, and other devices designed to alert drivers when other vehicles and objects are too close to cars and trucks. They can significantly reduce the risks of passenger vehicle accidents, but not all commercial vehicles are equipped with them.
Automatic braking systems (ABS) can help prevent rear-end accidents on roadways, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety emphasizes that this feature is important for pickup trucks. They found that pickup trucks with ABS were involved in 43 percent fewer rear-end accidents. There was also a 73 percent reduction in injuries and fatalities in car vs. pickup truck accidents.
The NHTSA claims that 284 people lost their lives on Interstate 95 in 2019. The fatality rate for Interstate 95 is 14.88 deaths for every 100,000 miles traveled.
Atlanta’s I-285 is also dangerous. This 64-mile road encircles the state capital and another source reported that more fatalities occur per mile here than on any other interstate in the entire country.
The statute of limitations for filing personal injury claims for auto accidents in Georgia is two years after a crash. This does not apply to insurance claims, which must be filed as soon as possible after accidents. Another thing to know about Georgia automobile accident laws is the fault-based system. The liable party’s insurance usually covers the injured party’s losses resulting from a crash, depending on the coverage limits.
Georgia also has a comparative fault law that applies to personal injury lawsuits. In these cases, a court assigns responsibility to both parties involved in a crash. If you are found to have a percentage of responsibility, your awarded damages will be reduced by that amount. Should the percentage be 50 percent or more, there will be no compensation. This is known as modified comparative negligence.
Passenger car vs. commercial truck accidents can be devastating and lead to overwhelming economic and non-economic losses. If you or someone you care for was injured in a car or truck accident, reach out to the skilled Atlanta truck accident lawyers at Childers & McCain, LLC. Schedule a free initial consultation by calling 478-254-2007 or completing our online form. Our Macon, Georgia offices serve clients throughout Macon, Savannah, Albany, and Atlanta.
Facing the aftermath of a serious accident can be overwhelming. Before you speak with the insurance companies, make sure you schedule a free consultation with the Macon personal injury lawyers at Childers & McCain. We can protect your rights while anticipating the insurance company’s tactics to make sure you get the full compensation you deserve. You don’t have to navigate this tough road alone – let our team of professionals help you move forward.