Trucks are generally considered unsafe for traffic on urban roads and highways, and for good reason. The odds of a truck accident turning fatal are high enough to be very concerning. This is because trucks are much bulkier than most other vehicles on the road.
Even when traveling at the same speed, they will carry a much bigger momentum than most other vehicles. In the event of a truck collision, this difference in momentum could mean the difference between life and death.
Even in rear-ending cases, truck accidents can be extremely risky as many personal injury lawyers will attest, based on their experience with clients.
If you don’t trust us, then perhaps some statistical records will convince you otherwise.
Truck Accident Statistics For Massachusetts
The population count for Massachusetts in 2018 was 6,902,149, roughly 6.9 million. Based on this data, you will be better able to better draw conclusions from the statistical insights shared as follows, for the same year:
- The cumulative distance covered by vehicles in Massachusetts was 66,772 million miles.
- There were 343 fatal car accidents in the state, this year, which resulted in 360 deaths.
- This means that for every 100 million miles, cumulatively traveled by the vehicles in Massachusetts, there were 0.54 accident deaths.
- If the number is made proportionate to the total population, then there were 5.2 deaths per 100,000 people in the state – this ratio is alarmingly high for such a low population density.
- There were four (4) vehicle crash deaths in large truck accidents, 1% of all traffic fatalities in the state.
- 75 people lost their lives in SUV and pickup truck accidents, which accounted for a whopping 21% of the accident fatalities in the state.
To further complicate matters, the state reported a spike in fatalities for the year 2020 even though the streets saw, on average, a 50% reduction in traffic density. Yes, the roads were half as crowded as usual, even lesser in some areas, and yet still, traffic fatalities seemed to actually increase rather than decreasing.
This means that the problems lie less with the road conditions (although this part cannot and should not be ignored) and more within the way people drive. And we know, from the endless records of traffic accidents, that traffic drivers are more prone to negligent behavior than most other drivers.
Thus it is reasonable to conclude that passenger vehicle drivers must watch out for trucks because they are dangerous.
Taking a deeper dive into the trucking issues in Massachusetts, let’s break down the complex problem into smaller pie slices. If you thought that this problem with truck accidents was something recent then think again, between 2004 and 2011, large truck accidents caused about 5% of the total fatal crashes.
This percentage has shown a tendency towards increasing rather than decreasing which is a worrisome affair because as the traffic density continues to climb up, so will the risk (although cutting it down does not seem to slash down the risk).
Here are a couple of stats from the aforementioned period to give you better insights into what Massachusetts has gone through:
- 1,880 commercial vehicles were involved in crashes in 2011 and accounted for 8.5 percent of the traffic fatalities for the state.
- The rate of commercial motor vehicle deaths (wrongful death) per miles traveled, was five times higher when compared to non-commercial vehicles.
- The risk of an injury crash was double for commercial motor vehicles than for non-commercial ones.
- Of all the crashes involving commercial vehicles, 1/3 happened at an angle.
- Commercial vehicle accidents were more likely to happen during weekdays during business hours.
- The most common cause of a commercial vehicle crash (i.e. truck crashes) was found to be distractions or driver inattention.
These numbers and facts are based on unbiased data collection. Nothing personal with truck drivers, the simple issue is that driving a truck involves lots of responsibility, especially with the tight schedules that most drivers have to contend with.
Of course, this is no excuse for being distracted or inattentive on the road, but a mere explanation as to why this happens.
Trucking companies are required to be extra careful about who they hire, how their drivers perform on the road, and how responsible they are in general. A truck driver’s responsibilities include but are not limited to being completely alert and attentive to what goes on the road, ensuring timely maintenance of their vehicles, and ensuring the implementation of safe driving protocols.
But we can safely assume that in practicality, not everyone follows through with these requirements.
Why Are Truck Accidents More Dangerous?
Now that we understand why motor vehicle accidents involving commercial trucks are so frequent and have learned that they can cause massive damage, it is important to know why it is that truck crashes are so dangerous. We already discussed how semi – trucks pack greater momentum than most other passenger cars and are thus riskier in traffic crashes (single-vehicle crashes and multiple-vehicle crashes).
But there’s much more to it.
Trucks are by their very nature, hard to control.
Since they are bulky and can travel at decently high speeds, keeping them properly aligned and under control is not an easy job. This is further complicated by maintenance issues that strike commercial vehicles with shocking regularity because they travel more.
Ideally, a truck driver must check for any maintenance trouble before heading off to wherever they plan on going, but that’s not always the case. And since not every trucking company has a fleet tracking system onboard, detecting maintenance issues before they become a safety concern, is hard.
Manufacturing defects in a truck are also to blame in some cases.
But we found driver inattention and negligence to the biggest culprit and for very good reasons (even something as nominal as not wearing the seat belts). Firstly, since truck drivers work for commission, they commit to humanly impossible hours.
Their schedule stretches far beyond a normal human’s capacity to work with a sound mind.
This means that problems like drowsiness and distractions are inevitable.
Some drivers have been known to drink or eat while driving simply because of their tough schedules. In such cases, the trucking company will be held directly responsible because it is under their control, after all, who gets to work how much.
The point is: truck accidents are risky, the numbers say it and so do the records.
A Truck Accident Attorney Can Help
Most people mistakenly assume that they can handle personal injury cases on their own – trust us, there is nothing “personal” about these cases. The law regarding compensation for auto accidents in Massachusetts is complex, since the state is a no-fault one, it is your insurer who’s supposed to pay up regardless of who caused the accident.
At least, this is how it plays out in most cases, but exceptions can be explored in situations where you had to sustain some serious damage (severe injuries, permanent injuries, potentially fatal injuries, etc.)
But before you can do any of that, you need a professional truck accident lawyer by your side who knows the law well, so that they can help you with:
- Assessing your damages (property damage, medical expense, physical harm demanding medical treatment, emotional distress, and so on)
- Gathering and documenting evidence
- Filing the request for financial compensation on your behalf
- Exploring your legal and financial options
- Representing you at all levels
- Dealing with the insurance companies during the settlement negotiations
- Taking matters to the court via a truck accident lawsuit, if needed
And so on…
Just be sure not to give any statements, written or oral, to the insurance adjuster before you talk to a lawyer. If you do so, you may inadvertently harm your position in the case, for instance, you may accept part of the blame, even if you had none or anything else of the sort.
This is just one of the possible ways your case can be compromised.
Be very careful about what you say, don’t give any statements, and contact an attorney as soon as possible.
Call Us Now For Legal Representation
The insurance laws regarding motor vehicle crashes in Massachusetts are especially tricky since it is a no-fault state, primarily. You can’t risk losing your compensation by going after the case on your own, or slashing down the sum through your words or actions, inadvertently.
Seeking fair compensation is a tough business in the personal injury law but this does not mean that it is not doable. All you need is the proper representation and you’ll be golden – luckily, our team at Michael Kelly are here to help you with any issues.
We work on a contingency fee basis which means that we won’t bother you with any bills or payments until you’ve won maximum compensation for your economic and non-economic damages.
No need to hold back on your legal rights, call us today and we’ll help you claim your fair settlement!