NHTSA Reports Truck Accidents Increased Nationwide in 2021

NHTSA Reports Truck Accidents Increased Nationwide in 2021If you drive anywhere in or near Richmond, you’re likely to see many different types of trucks on Interstates 64, 95, 195, and 295. Virginia and local roads are often packed with trucks too. These trucks include semis, tractor-trailers, rigs, box trucks, flatbeds, cement trucks, tankers, logging trucks, and many other types of commercial vehicles.

Unfortunately, the pandemic hasn’t slowed down the number of deadly truck accidents across America. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that traffic fatalities increased in 2021 from 2020, with some accident categories showing large increases.

Overall increase in traffic fatalities

The NHTSA reported the following increases in deadly accidents:

  • The number of deaths on urban roads increased from 21,940 in 2020 to 25,411 in 2021, a 16 percent increase.
  • Deaths on rural interstate roads increased by 15 percent.
  • Daytime deaths increased by 11 percent and weekend deaths also increased by 11 percent.
  • Fatal accidents involving multiple vehicles increased by 16 percent. Deaths increased among the following age groups as follows:
    • 25-34 – An increase of 10 percent.
    • 35-44 – An increase of 15 percent.
    • 45-54 – An increase of 12 percent.
    • 65 and older – An increase of 14 percent, which reversed a downward trend for that age group in 2020.
    • Deaths of passengers who did not use restraining devices increased by 3 percent and was higher than pre-pandemic levels.
    • Alcohol-related deaths increased by 5 percent, and were also higher than pre-pandemic levels.
  • Motorcycle fatalities increased by 9 percent.
  • Fatal pedestrian traffic accidents rose by 5 percent.

Fatal accidents involving at least one large truck rose by 13 percent, changing the downward trend for 2020.

An increase in fatalities due to truck accidents

The NHTSA report also confirmed that projected large truck accident fatalities increased, stating “The estimated fatalities in crashes involving at least one large truck, increased by 13 percent from 2020 to 2021. This estimate is based on [the] involvement of large trucks, both in commercial and non-commercial use at the time of the crash.”

The following data applies to the different categories of victims, all of whom were involved in an accident with at least one large truck:

  • Deaths involving drivers of passenger cars increased by 12 percent from 2020 to 2021.
  • Deaths involving passengers of passenger cars increased by 9 percent from 2020 to 2021.
  • Deaths involving motorcycle riders increased by 9 percent from 2020 to 2021.
  • Deaths involving pedestrians increased by 13 percent from 2020 to 2021.
  • Deaths involving bicycle riders increased by 5 percent from 2020 to 2021.

The number of fatal speeding accidents involving at least one large truck increased five percent from 11,258 to 11,780 over the same one-year period. The number of deadly alcohol-related accidents involving at least one large truck jumped from 7,795 to 8,174, also increasing five percent.

Why are truck accidents so deadly?

Large trucks cause deadly accidents for many reasons. At Phelan Petty, our experienced attorneys work with investigators, the police, product safety professionals, traffic reconstruction experts, and other professionals as needed to show how the accident happened, why the accident was preventable, and who is responsible.

Some of the many reasons truck accidents happen in Richmond include:

  • The dimensions of the truck. Most trucks are wider, longer, and taller than passenger cars. They’re also much heavier than cars. When a large truck and a passenger car collide, the occupants of the smaller car are often lucky to survive. Many victims suffer catastrophic injuries. Pedestrians and bicycle riders are often killed by large trucks.
  • The special skills needed to drive the truck. Drivers of commercial trucks need a special commercial driver’s license (CDL). Each type of truck is different. Drivers and the companies that hire them need to be sure they have the training and experience to safely operate their trucks.
  • Blind spots. Trucks don’t have side or rear windows. This means that drivers often cannot see behind them and to the sides of the truck. Even seeing directly in front of a tall truck can be difficult. Trucks should be equipped with mirrors, cameras, or video to help the driver see. Truck drivers need to be especially cautious to avoid hitting anyone around them.

Other causes of deadly truck accidents include improper loading of the truck, wide turn accidents, underride accidents, and violating the traffic laws of Virginia.

We also file wrongful death claims on behalf of close family members when anyone is killed in a truck accident.

Who is responsible for a truck accident in Richmond?

Our seasoned personal injury lawyers file claims against everyone responsible for your injuries or the death of a loved one. Some of the people and businesses who may be liable for your truck accident include:

  • The driver of the truck
  • The owner of the truck, if different than the truck driver
  • The company that requested the shipment
  • An employer of the truck driver
  • A trucking broker that arranged to find a truck driver for the shipping company
  • The manufacturers of defective truck parts such as hydraulic systems, brakes, and electrical components
  • Maintenance and repair companies

Unlike most states, businesses that sell alcohol are generally not liable in Virginia if someone they serve later causes a truck accident.

At Phelan Petty, our Richmond-based injury attorneys understand the physical and financial devastation of a truck accident. We work with your doctors to fully understand the severity of your injuries, how those injuries are affecting every part of your life, and what medical treatments you need. If a truck accident caused injuries or the death of a loved one, call our seasoned trial lawyers today. You can call us at 804-980-7100 or fill out our contact form to make an appointment. We serve clients in Richmond and throughout Virginia.