Every year, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) publishes a report on vehicle crashes throughout the state. It’s an important resource for understanding the problems we’re facing on our highways and what we need to do to make our roads safer. The most recent report was the 2019 PennDOT report, which included data from calendar year 2019. It’s the clearest picture we have of current accident statistics in Pennsylvania.
Here are a summary of its findings regarding heavy/commercial truck accidents.
#1: The Number of Truck Accidents Has Been Rising Since 2015
The number of accidents involving commercial trucks in Pennsylvania hit a peak in 2018 and only slightly lowered in 2019. Fatalities have largely remained the same, although the fatality rate in 2019 rose slightly. The vast majority of trucking fatality victims were not truck occupants; in 2019, only 2.1% of truck occupants were killed in heavy truck crashes.
That means in a fatal truck accident involving a negligent trucker, it’s 97.9% more likely that a motorist, pedestrian, or motorcycle rider would suffer the consequences.
#2: Most Trucking Accidents Were Caused by Tire Problems
Tracking the most common causes of 18-wheeler collisions is a key part of making our roads safer. By understanding the cause of trucking crashes, we can address the problem at the root—and hopefully keep people alive.
The top 3 primary factors for truck accidents in 2019 were:
- Tire/wheel problems
- Brake problems
- Unsecure or overloaded trailers
These three issues reveal a common problem in the trucking industry: low maintenance and overloaded trailers, both of which are tied to company profit margins. Legally, companies are required to regularly check and maintain their brakes and tires. This costs time, which costs money. Meanwhile, companies overload their employees’ trailers in order to make more deliveries in a single trip, thus generating more revenue.
The overloaded trailers wear down the brakes and tires even more, lowering the likelihood of getting maintenance while increasing the likelihood that the truck will crash.
#3: Most Trucking Accidents Happen on Non-Interstate Highways
Around 55% of trucking accidents in Pennsylvania take place on state highways that are not designated as interstate highways. Interstate highways, trucking companies often point out, were originally built for truckers. But in Pennsylvania, over half of the accidents we experience happen on our state highways, which were made for commuting and travel.
Regardless of where or how a trucking accident took place, trucking companies need to be held accountable for their negligence. The victims of trucking accidents often suffer serious and permanent injuries that they cannot afford to treat; shipping companies need to be made responsible for the millions of dollars in damages they cause.
If you were injured in a serious trucking accident, speak with Handler, Henning & Rosenberg LLC today to discuss your recovery options in a free consultation. We take no fee unless we win your case, so there’s no risk to calling!