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Nighttime, rural roads and the frequency of truck crashes

On Behalf of | Aug 4, 2019 | Firm News

Common sense tells us that dusk-to-dawn drivers should exercise caution, especially in rural areas.

This includes the drivers of large trucks, because statistics show that the majority of fatal truck crashes occur on deceptively peaceful country roads.

Data from the FMCSA

Large truck accident statistics collected by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for 2015 give us an idea of the extent of serious crashes. The data shows that there were 83,000 injury crashes that year and 3,598 fatalities. Of the fatal crashes, 20% involved collisions with pedestrians or bicyclists, while 64% involved two vehicles. Nighttime was the worst time: 35% of the fatalities occurred between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. The data also showed that a surprising 60% of the traffic deaths involving large trucks took place not on interstates or city streets, but on rural roads.

Why rural crashes happen

There are many reasons for accidents on country roads, especially after dark. To begin with, rural roads are usually narrow and often not well maintained. People also drive faster than they should. Deer and other wild animals can suddenly dart out in front of oncoming vehicles. Also, some drivers are either drunk or distracted when an accident occurs. As is the case on any kind of road or highway, tires can blow, or other components may fail at just the wrong time.

Facing liability

Since commercial trucks are extremely large and heavy, the driver of the smaller vehicle in a truck-car crash is usually the victim and likely to sustain the most serious injuries. However, even when they occur on lonely, narrow rural roads in the dead of night, truck-car accidents are complicated to sort out. The truck driver may not be the only party found liable for the collision. Fault may extend to the company that owns the truck and even the parts manufacturer if, for example, the accident involved failed equipment. After establishing liability, obtaining financial compensation to cover the victim’s medical expenses and more becomes a priority.