The holidays are a time for family, and friends and, unfortunately, increased traffic on the roads. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 26.29 percent of traffic fatalities occurred between November and January 2019 (three of the largest traveling holidays in the United States). Increased traffic, coupled with the fact that the holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year for the trucking industry, can result in disastrous consequences. This blog will explore startling statistics around holiday trucking accidents, examine the factors and reasoning surrounding them and who can be held liable.
Holiday Trucking Accident Statistics
Data from the National Safety Council shows that 32.34 percent of trucking accident fatalities occur between November and January. This means that nearly one out of every three trucking fatalities happen during the holidays. 2019 crash data shows that:
- 368 fatal collisions involved large trucks in November.
- 382 fatal collisions involved large trucks in December.
- 336 fatal collisions involved large trucks in January.
Additionally, in fatal trucking accidents, over 65 percent of fatalities are other vehicle occupants, while close to 30 percent are truck occupants.
What Causes an Increase in Accidents?
There are many factors that can contribute to an increase in accidents during the holiday season. For example, weather conditions can be more treacherous during this time of year. Roads may be icy or covered in snow, which makes it more difficult for trucks to stop. However, there are other common causes of accidents that are more specific to the trucking industry:
- Tight Schedules - Truck drivers are often under pressure to meet tight deadlines, which can lead to them taking risks on the road, such as speeding or driving for longer periods of time than they should.
- Inexperienced Truck Drivers - Driver shortages during one of the year's busiest times lead trucking companies to hire young and inexperienced drivers.
- Increased Traffic - While any increase in traffic can be hazardous for drivers, it is especially dangerous when large trucks are involved due to their size and weight.
- Driver Fatigue - The increased demand during the holidays can lead to truck drivers working longer hours which can result in driver fatigue.
- Overlooked Maintenance - With an increased demand and overwhelming necessity to have trucks on the road, trucking companies often cut corners and neglect to properly maintain their vehicle in order to put more trucks into operation.
Who Can Be Held Liable?
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident with a truck, there are a few parties who could potentially be held liable. Unlike typical car accidents, truck accidents often involve more than just two drivers.
- Truck Drivers - Truck drivers can be held liable if it is found that they were driving negligently or recklessly. This could include speeding, driving under the influence, or violating other traffic laws.
- Truck Companies - The trucking company that the driver is employed by can also be held liable if it is found that they did not properly maintain the truck or if they encouraged the driver to take risks on the road. More often than not, a trucking company will be found liable for a collision than a truck driver will.
- Parts Manufacturers - In some cases, accidents may be caused by defective truck parts. In these instances, the manufacturer of the defective part can be held liable.
How McGinn, Montoya, Love & Curry, P.A. Can Help You
McGinn, Montoya, Love & Curry are dedicated to helping those who have been injured in accidents caused by the negligence of others. We have experience handling complex truck accident cases and will fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
If you were involved in a trucking accident in New Mexico, call McGinn, Montoya, Love & Curry, P.A. today at (505) 405-4441 to schedule a free initial consultation.