Truck accidents are among the most dangerous and destructive accidents that occur on our roadways. Unfortunately, many of these accidents are caused by truck driver error or negligence—and the leading truck driver error found to contribute to fatal crashes is speeding. Many truck accidents involving truck drivers who are traveling at higher speeds lead to catastrophic injuries or even wrongful death.
FMCSA Statistics on Truck Driver Speeding & Collision Rates
The following information outlines some of the most recent data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regarding fatal, large truck accidents by speed limit. Note that a large truck is defined as any truck with a vehicle weight greater than 10,000 pounds.
- For truck accidents that occurred with a truck traveling 25 miles per hour or less, 62 total truck accidents resulted in at least one fatality, accounting for 2.1% of all fatal truck accidents.
- Of all truck accidents that occurred between the speed of 30 to 35 miles per hour, 228 fatal accidents were reported, which makes up 7.6% of all fatal truck accidents.
- Between the speeds of 40 and 45 miles per hour, 413 fatal truck accidents were reported, or 13.8% of all fatal trucking accidents.
- For accidents that occurred between 50 and 55 miles per hour, 1,139 fatal truck accidents occurred, which adds up to 38.1% of all fatal truck accidents.
- Of the accidents that occurred between 60 and 65 miles per hour, 702 fatal incidents were reported, accounting for 23.5% of all accidents.
- Accidents between the speeds of 70 and 75 included 391 fatal accidents, 13.1% of all fatal truck accidents.
- Only 2 fatal accidents were recorded in 2009 for individuals traveling between 80 and 85 miles per hour, which makes up 0.1% of all fatal truck accidents.
During this study, it was also noted that 47 fatal truck accidents were caused by trucks traveling at unknown speeds, and 3 fatal truck accidents were caused with no statutory limit. A total of 2,987 fatal truck accidents occurred in the year of 2009, which is a large decrease from 4,573 fatal truck accidents in the year 2000.
Speeding is the Leading Driver-Related Error
Data from the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) demonstrates that speeding is the top driver-error cause for accidents. In a study entitled the National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey, published in 2008, surveyors found that out of all fatal truck crashes, over one in five involved a truck driver who was operating his / her vehicle over the posted speed limit or too fast for weather conditions. Not only that, but 18% of those drivers had one or more prior speeding convictions on their driving records.
What Causes Truck Drivers to Speed?
Most truck drivers are aware of the dangers their vehicles pose, and of the difficulty of safely maneuvering their trucks at high speed. So why do many of those same individuals choose to operate their vehicles at unsafe speeds? Regulations from the FMCSA restrict the number of hours that truck drivers may be on the road. In order to meet pressing deadlines from their employers, many drivers press the limits of safety and speed in order to make time.
It is important to look at all angles of the issue when making regulations that impact the trucking industry. With over 70% of American freight currently being transported by big trucks and approximately 15.5 million of those trucks on the road, the problem isn’t going away anytime soon. It will take careful consideration and cooperation from all involved in this industry to make lasting changes that promote safety for truck drivers and other vehicles.
Call Arnold & Itkin for a Free Consultation After an Accident
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident with a truck driver who was driving over the speed limit or too fast for weather conditions, we encourage you to get legal help quickly. Our team of dedicated and experienced truck accident lawyers at Arnold & Itkin can answer your questions and help you take the right course of action to protect your rights and pursue deserved compensation. We are ready to fight for you. Call us today—we will happily give you a free consultation regarding your case.