Statistics About New York Truck Accidents Fail To Tell The Whole Story

Statistics about truck accidents provide important information to government agencies, insurance companies and trucking businesses. The numbers allow these organizations to plan, budget and develop projects. For example, it is probably useful for the administrators of the New York State Thruway to know details of truck accidents. They can schedule highway helpers, toll takers and state troopers based on statistical information.

The Facts About New York Truck Accidents

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Such information would include reports of accidents. For example, in 2012, there were 10,345 large truck crashes reported to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). According to statistics from the DMV, 82 of these accidents were fatal, with 92 individuals killed; 3,552 were personal injury crashes in which 4,873 people were injured.

The 2012 statistics have additional detail. Of those injured in large truck accidents:

  • 3,340 were vehicle drivers
  • 1,279 were passengers
  • 174 were pedestrians
  • 55 were bicyclists

The most common causes of New York crashes related to human factors were driver inattention, failure to yield right of way and following too closely. Other common causes include:

  • Oversized vehicle
  • Defective brakes
  • Tire failure
  • Slippery pavement
  • Obstructed view
  • Animals in roadway

One of the most significant statistics shows that of the drivers killed in tractor-trailer accidents, 50 were drivers of cars, smaller trucks, motorcycles and bicycles. Only six were truck drivers, reflecting the significant disadvantage that drivers of smaller vehicles face when involved in accidents with semi trucks or other large vehicles that can weigh up to 100,000 pounds or even more.

Truck Accident Consequences: More Than Numbers

What statistics like these do not reveal is the trauma and damage suffered by those injured and the families of those who died. The result of truck accident-caused head and brain injuries is often a significant change in personality and cognitive ability, changing a victim's life forever. Back injuries, another frequent consequence of truck accidents, can result in problems that range from constant pain to paralysis.

Victims who suffer back pain or spinal injuries are frequently unable to work after being injured in truck accidents. Burns can leave a victim scarred and in need of extensive reconstructive surgery. The psychiatric and emotional pain caused by the disfigurement may be almost as damaging as the excruciating physical pain caused by burns.

Like back injuries, neck injuries can range from the pain caused by whiplash to spinal injuries that could result in paralysis. Knee injuries can make it difficult or impossible to walk and may require knee replacement surgery.

There are also statistics about the financial cost of truck accidents; according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the overall cost (to the trucking companies) of large truck crashes was $24,376,000 in 1997. The average cost per accident was $76,000. However, the cost to victims of truck accidents and their loved ones is much harder to calculate.

The injured face many challenges when trying to put their lives back together. Working, engaging in usual activities or even performing personal care tasks like getting dressed may become difficult or impossible. The loved ones of those who died suffer from much more than the loss of income provided by the deceased - there is the loss of companionship, help with children and household tasks, and many other damages that are difficult to quantify.

Because of the challenges of calculating the real cost of a truck accident from a victim's point of view, it is important that those injured in semi-truck accidents consult an experienced attorney. The attorneys at Block O'Toole & Murphy have a long track record of helping victims who have been injured in truck crashes. As a result, they have accumulated knowledge, statistics and experience in all aspects of truck accidents. This article is part of the firm's ongoing effort to raise awareness of the who, what, where, how and why of truck accidents in New York.