Federal agencies such as the National Transportation Safety Bureau (NTSB) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) collect, analyze, and report data related to commercial trucking accidents. Although such data is exhaustive and vital to highway safety, these reports have one serious drawback: on a calendar-year basis, most of their data is "old." Let us explain what we mean by that last statement.
When a truck accident occurs local law enforcement, usually with the assistance of the state's Department of Transportation, will conduct the initial investigation and issue an accident report. That report is then forwarded to a regional office of the FMCSA or the NTSB, where it is reviewed for any indication that an immediate risk to public safety (e.g. damage to a bridge or a malfunctioning railroad crossing guard) may have caused the accident. This usually requires several months since there are many factors that could have contributed, either directly or indirectly, to an accident. When that investigation is complete, the report is then forwarded to that agency's national office.
Once the national office becomes involved it will conduct its own investigation, usually by repeating the original investigation plus adding a few more "hearings" and "fact-finding" site visits. By the time the national office is ready to write its final report, another year or so has passed. Thus, even in the best of circumstances, it is rare that any data is less than a year to 18 months old and is all but useless unless long-term trends are being discussed.
As a result of such data backlogs, at The Doan Law Firm we maintain our own database of fatality traffic accidents where a tractor-trailer rig (either local or "over the road") was at least partially involved. Since we rely on news items that appear online for our data, we admit that we are probably missing some accidents that are never reported on in the online media. However, in this age of 24-hour national news reporting, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, we feel that our information is adequate for short-term analysis.
Truck Accidents that Occurred in February 2019
In February 2019, our database logged 114 accidents involving at least one semi, an average of just over 4 accidents per day. Those accidents were responsible for a total of 136 deaths. A breakdown of our data for the month reveals:
There were 19 multi-fatality accidents, accounting for 16.7% of all accidents
and 36% of all deaths. Of the 19 multi-fatality accidents, 16 were double
fatality accidents (32 deaths) and 3 were triple fatality accidents (9
deaths). The following 6 states recorded 49 fatal truck accidents (43%
of all accidents)
- Texas (12)
- California (10)
- Florida (7)
- Indiana (7)
- Ohio (7)
- Wisconsin (6)
- The semi driver was charged and/or arrested in 13 (11%) of the reported accidents
- 14 accidents (12%) occurred when the driver of another vehicle lost control and crossed into semi's path, usually due to a wet or ice-covered roadway
- 13 of these 114 accidents, (11%) were "underride" accidents (vehicle struck the trailer and slid under it). All underride accidents were single-fatality, with a total of 13 deaths (9.5% of all deaths)
- There were 9 single-vehicle accidents involving only a truck (8%) resulting in 9 deaths, and 1 multi-vehicle accident involving two trucks leading to 1 death.
- 9 semi drivers and/or co-drivers were killed in February, included 2 that drowned after their truck crashed through a guardrail and into Mirror Lake near Wisconsin Dells, WI
- 6 accidents (5% of all accidents) involved a truck striking a pedestrian resulting in 6 deaths
- 3 accidents involved a truck and a motorcycle or bicycle, leading to 3 deaths
Was February Worse Than Other Months?
When compared to our data obtained during January, there were fewer accidents (132 vs 114) and fewer deaths (153 vs 136) in February. However, there was no significant change in the average daily accident rate (4.26 vs 4.07) or in the average number of deaths per accident (1.16 vs 1.19). We do call attention to the average number of deaths per accident since this number is an indicator of the number of multi-fatality accidents in any given month.
Contacting a commercial truck accident injury lawyer
Although they account for a relatively small percentage of the total number of vehicles on our streets and highways, commercial trucking accidents are responsible for hundreds of accidental deaths and millions of dollars in property damage each year. As a personal injury law firm that represents the victims of commercial truck accidents, we already know what many accident victims will learn in the days and months following such an accident: the trucking companies, and their insurance carriers, will do anything they think they can get away with to get you to settle an accident claim for much less than the amount of damages that you are legally allowed to recover!
To protect your right to be compensated for your losses after a commercial trucking accident, you should contact a personal injury accident lawyer who has the training and experience necessary to work with you to obtain a fair settlement of your claim. One such lawyer is the commercial trucking injury lawyer at The Doan Law Firm, a national personal injury law practice with offices located throughout the country.
We know how a commercial trucking accident can devastate a family, both emotionally and financially. For that reason, and many others, when you contact our truck accident injury lawyer your case review and first consultation with us is always free and does not require you to hire us to act as your legal counsel. Should you decide to file a lawsuit against those responsible for your losses, we are willing to work with you and assume full responsibility for all aspects of preparing your case for trial in exchange for an agreed-upon percentage of the final settlement that we will win for you.