A look at truck accident fatalities in Pennsylvania

In 2013, there were 1,208 motor vehicle fatalities in Pennsylvania. Of these deaths, 155 occurred in large truck accidents.

Motor vehicle fatalities are always tragic, especially for those people left behind to mourn the loss of their loved ones. In some cases, these crashes involve large, heavy commercial vehicles which can exacerbate some of the dangers.

The New York Daily News explains how the collision between a tractor trailer and a commercial tour bus claimed the lives of three people and left even more critically injured. The crash happened along a stretch of Interstate 380 near the Pocono Mountains.

How often do commercial vehicle accidents happen?

While there may be no way to give an average of how often commercial vehicles are involved in crashes, a look at accident statistics can indicate how serious the problem is. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration records show that between 2009 and 2013, between 134 and 166 people died each year in Pennsylvania in accidents involving large commercial vehicles.

A year-by-year breakdown indicates the following:

  • 155 people died in large truck accidents in 2013.
  • 166 people died in large truck accidents in 2012.
  • 160 people died in large truck accidents in 2011.
  • 164 people died in large truck accidents in 2010.
  • 134 people died in large truck accidents in 2009.

Cumberland County was the site of 15 large truck fatalities during that time. Neighboring counties also experienced a significant number of deaths in truck accidents. In Dauphin County, 25 people died. In Franklin County, 20 people died. In York County, 17 people died. Perry and Adams Counties saw 13 and six truck accident deaths, respectively.

Can these accidents be prevented?

Knowing that impaired driving, fatigue and speeding are some common causes of truck accidents, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is working to address each of these topics.

Impairment will get more scrutiny once the FMCSA launches its new database in the coming months. According to the Commercial Carrier Journal, this repository of driver records will offer employers a view into drivers' drug and alcohol test results and violations. Hiring new drivers will require a full database review.

A 2013 effort to amend the required break times for drivers was opposed notes Supply Chain Digest. The Hours of Service rule was stayed by Congress while the FMCSA collected additional information about how it may improve safety. JOC.com explains that a full report of the new research is currently being created.

Speeding could also get more oversight. The installation of special devices into semi trucks and other vehicles could allow employers to monitor their drivers' speeds indicates Business Insurance.

Are there other ways to address the problem?

Because all truck accidents are not likely to be able to be prevented, taking action after such a crash is important. A call to an experienced lawyer should be one of the first that victims or family members make.