The COVID-19 pandemic is responsible for a lot of detrimental effects on society. Of course, we first think of the virus being spread and causing illnesses. Next, we may think about the quarantines, and the financial losses suffered by small businesses and towns. One detriment we may not think about is the effect the pandemic had on our roadways.
At first, the roads were empty of travelers as people stayed home. Those who were out on the road, however, were engaging in some pretty risky behaviors. Speeding and drunk driving both increased, as did the number of fatal accidents, in 2020. And those behaviors are still happening.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) most recent report shows troubling statistics concerning traffic fatalities, especially among truck accidents. In an article by Freight Waves, federal regulators state that “Deaths in crashes involving trucks hit a ‘crisis’ level and reversed a downward trend in place before the pandemic.” From 2020 to 2021, the estimated fatalities in accidents that involved at least one commercial truck increased 13% (4,965 to 5,601), in comparison to the 1% decline experienced from 2019 to 2020.
Ariel Wolf, general counsel for the Autonomous Vehicle Industry Association stated that since 2020, there has been an increase in “risky driving behaviors,” and that the fatality reports coming in for 2021 are “the most sobering crash report since the inception of the traffic fatality tracking system in 1975.”
In general, the NHTSA estimates that in 2021, 42,915 people died in traffic accidents. This is an increase of 10.5% from 2020 and is the highest number of fatalities experienced on the road since 2005. It is also “the largest annual percentage increase in the history of NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System.” The increase in fatalities is a record high, states the Truck Safety Coalition (TSA). From 2010 to 2022, truck fatalities have increased by a shocking 52%. While there are more fatalities in truck accidents, most of those fatalities (97%) come from the passenger vehicles involved in the crash with the truck.
Some of the increase seems to be coming from urban roads more than rural roads, rising from 57% fatalities in 2020 to 62% in 2021. Per NHTSA, “For the entire year, death counts on urban roads increased 16% in 2021 to 25,411. For the entire year, death counts on urban roads increased 16% in 2021 to 25,411.”
How can we change these statistics?
The TSA suggests the implementation of more automatic, self-driving features in large trucks, such as automatic emergency braking and advanced driver assistance systems, “completing a proposed rulemaking requiring all trucks to install speed limiters, and passing legislation raising minimum insurance requirements for trucks from $750,000 to $5 million.”
Wolf states that these high fatality numbers “provide a reminder of why the autonomous vehicle industry is dedicated to developing and deploying lifesaving technology. AVs — which do not speed, become impaired or get distracted — can help radically improve safety on American roadways.”
NHTSA Deputy Secretary Steven Cliff had this to say: “This crisis on our roads is urgent and preventable. We will redouble our safety efforts and we need everyone — state and local governments, safety advocates, automakers, and drivers — to join us. All of our lives depend on it.”
Why do I need a Nashville truck accident lawyer?
While it may seem obvious who is responsible for the accident when you are in a crash with a large truck, it is not always a simple matter of driver versus driver. Often, it is not just the driver who is at fault or liable for your injuries and damages.
Other than the driver, the fault may also lie with:
- The trucking company
- The owner of the truck
- The employer of the truck driver
- Maintenance and repair companies
- The company responsible for loading the cargo
- Companies involved in the shipment
- Manufacturers of defective truck parts
- The Tennessee Department of Transportation and other state agencies/entities – if they failed to design or maintain roads which become dangerous
- If the driver of the truck was intoxicated at the time of the accident, we can also file cases against entities that sold alcohol to the driver.
To get the compensation you deserve, it is important to know every party involved in your accident. A truck driver alone may not be able to give you the restitution you’re looking for, but a truck company most likely can.
With the increase in traffic accidents, especially truck accidents, it is critical that you understand your rights if you are ever in one of these sorts of crashes. Injuries from accidents such as these can be catastrophic if not fatal and can leave you with complications and chronic pain for the rest of your life. If you have been in an accident with a truck, call our truck accident lawyers in Nashville. We have won enormous settlements against trucking companies, and we know exactly how to handle the possible multiple parties involved. To schedule a free consultation, use our contact page. We proudly serve our community through our offices in Nashville, Hendersonville, or Clarksville.