With it’s close proximity to I-5, Medford Oregon see’s its fair share of tractor trailer accidents. As many as half a million accidents involving semi trucks, buses, and other large vehicles occur on American roads and highways each year. Such accidents account for one out of every eight highway fatalities across the country, with one or more fatalities occurring in once in every 100 of accidents involving such large vehicles. This is nearly twice the average rate of fatal accidents in the United States (1 in 183, as opposed to 1 in 100), a statistic which, in itself, includes some of these large vehicle accidents as part of the average. If those were factored out, the rate for fatalities in small vehicle accidents alone would be much lower.
Large vehicles, such as trucks and buses, have expansive blind spots, within which their drivers cannot see smaller vehicles. This means that truck drivers need to stay alert all of the time while on the road, something that many of them are unable to do due to the demanding nature of their schedules. Often, truckers will rely upon chemical stimulants, such as caffeine and energy drinks. This kind of stimulation results in a hyper-focused state, where the driver may be paying attention to only one thing at a time, much like tunnel vision. After the drink or the supplement wears off, the driver will mentally crash, experiencing a wave of exhaustion, micro-sleep, falling asleep at the wheel, temporary loss of awareness, and other states of mind with which most of us are all too familiar… but hopefully not from while we were behind the wheel, and not on a recurring basis.
- 66 percent of all accidents involving large vehicles occur during broad daylight. This is not the case with normal automobile accidents, where there is an increase in the rate of accidents when visibility is poor. This ties the increase in accidents during daylight specifically to negligent driving habits among large vehicle drivers, who must be far more careful with their vehicles in order to avoid causing injury or death to others.
- 68 percent of all accidents involving semi trucks occur in rural areas. With other vehicles, the opposite is true; as one might expect, smaller vehicles experience more accidents, including minor traffic collisions, in urban areas, and in other areas which typically experience heavy traffic. This suggests that the upsurge in rural accidents involving truckers is due to large vehicle drivers’ tendency to relax when driving in less traffic-dense regions.
- The rate of accidents involving large trucks is significantly reduced during inclement weather. When semi truck, bus, and other large vehicle drivers are paying as much attention to their surroundings as they ought to be paying under normal conditions, the rate of accidents involving severe injury and death among other drivers is significantly reduced.
Many large vehicle accidents are the result of negligence or oversight on the parts of large vehicle drivers, or else they can be traced directly to bad policy or lack of enforcement on the parts of their employers. If you or someone you know has been injured in such an accident, you need to give our law offices a call today. We have locations in Medford, OR, and in the greater surrounding region. Don’t delay – you deserve compensation for your medical bills, your pain and suffering, and your lost wages. Give us a call, and get yourself into the right corner: the one where we’re helping you to look after your needs as a victim of an avoidable accident.
Fatalities in Semi Truck Accidents
Unfortunately, for those of us who love living here and who regularly use local roadways, Oregon is prone to trucking accidents. According to ODOT’s 2017 Summary of Oregon Truck Safety, half of the truck accidents on Oregon’s roads are attributable to poor driving or mechanical failure.
What’s the Cause?
Semi-truck accidents account for about 12% of all motor vehicle fatalities each year and the occupant of the smaller involved vehicle is killed in 98% of those cases. The primary reason for this deadly outcome in semi-truck accidents is the massive weight and size differential between 80,000 lb loaded semi-trucks and 3,000 lb passenger vehicles. Simply put, people in passenger vehicles that are struck by semi-trucks have little chance of surviving.
Semi-truck accidents are a prevalent and serious problem on Oregon’s roads. Every year dozens of innocent people lose their lives from being involved in collisions with semi-trucks on Oregon roadways. Again, the primary reason for this deadly outcome in semi-truck accidents is the massive weight and size differential between trucks and regular passenger vehicles.
There are many different causes of semi-truck accidents, including:
- Driver fatigue
- Overloaded trucks
- Negligently designed or maintained highways
- Inattentive semi-truck drivers
- Improperly-loaded trucks
- Inexperienced drivers
- Improper maintenance
- Intoxicated truck drivers
- Defective parts
- Driver failure to respect weather and traffic conditions
Regulatory Changes Promote Safety
Major regulatory changes have been introduced to the trucking industry in recent years. Standards and processes for accident documentation, employment screening, working hours, driver training and safety requirement have all been improved. Despite these steps in the right direction, large trucking companies are still pushing Congress to increase the national cap on truck size from 80,000 pounds to 97,000 pounds. The battle to keep our roads safe for passenger vehicles continues.
- In this tragic case, a semi truck driver was speeding and lost control of his vehicle while rounding a corner. He crashed head-on into our client, who was killed instantly.
How We Were Able to Help
- After a long fight over the value of the claim, we settled this case for the maximum amount allowed for wrongful death cases under Oregon law at the time: $500,000.