Even though the 2011 fatal accident rate was the lowest since 1949, the number of truck occupant deaths jumped nearly 20 percent. Six hundred and thirty-five truck occupants were killed in 2011, compared with 530 in 2010.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which released the data last week, could not give a clear reason for the increase. They believe it may be related to higher truck speed limits in some states and an increase of truck drivers on the road. They will work with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to determine other potential causes of the increase.
As personal injury lawyers, we often discuss truck accidents from the viewpoint of injured car occupants. Yet, truck drivers also suffer injuries and can be killed in truck accidents, many of which are caused by car drivers, defective truck parts and other things out of truck drivers' control. A bill (MAP-21) passed recently that asks the NHTSA to study how safe trucks are for truck occupants and look at options for increasing safety. 2011's traffic fatality date shows that there is certainly a need for this study.
If your loved one was a truck driver killed in a truck accident, we offer our sincerest condolences. You may have options to recover compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, funeral expenses, lost income, loss of consortium and other economic and noneconomic damages. Depending on the cause of the truck accident, you may have a lawsuit against an at-fault driver, the trucking company or the manufacturer of a defective truck part.
Learn more by visiting our pages on Illinois truck accidents.
Source: Truckinginfo, "2011 highway deaths down, but truck occupant deaths up 20 percent," Dec. 11, 2012