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How Fatal Are Truck Rollovers?

What Causes Truck AccidentsTruck accidents have a high fatality rate, mostly due to their large size and weight. When a truck rolls over, the risk of death increases substantially. Here’s what to know about the fatality rate of commercial truck rollovers and how experienced New Hampshire and Massachusetts truck accident attorneys Mazow | McCullough, PC can help you after being hurt in a collision.

A Look At Commercial Truck Rollovers

A truck rollover is defined by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) as an accident that results in the top of a large truck or commercial vehicle coming into contact with the ground at least once. Trucks that only flip upside down and trucks that roll multiple times are both included in rollover statistics. Trucks that fall to their side may also be included.

What Makes a Truck Roll?

Like Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs), trucks tend to be prime targets for rollover accidents, especially when traveling at greater speeds on highways. Here are some common causes of truck rollovers:

  • Taking a curve or turn too fast or sharp. Trucks can easily topple over when going too fast around a curve or by taking too sharp a turn. If this occurs near a dropoff, the truck can easily roll down a hill or embankment.
  • Driver impairment. If a truck driver is fatigued and falling asleep at the wheel, or intoxicated by drugs or alcohol, the risk of an accident becoming a rollover increases substantially.
  • Speed. Trucks that are speeding when they get into a collision are at a higher risk of rolling over than trucks that are going at or below the posted speed limit.
  • Overcorrecting. If a truck driver veers off to the side of the road, it’s important not to overcorrect. Jerking the wheel to get back on the road can cause the trailer to fishtail, which can pull the cab down and over.

Truck Rollover Stats

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recently conducted a Large Truck Crash Causation Study to determine what factors cause or contribute to commercial truck collisions. The following data was obtained.

  • 9% of all truck collisions are rollover accidents.
  • Approximately 13,000 truck rollover accidents occur annually across the United States.
  • Around 4-5% of fatal truck accidents are rollovers.
  • 47% of truck accidents that resulted in the death of the truck driver or a passenger in the truck were rollover collisions.
  • 30% of truck rollovers involve single unit trucks.
  • 70% of truck rollovers involve bobtails, where a driver is operating their truck without a trailer attached, and Class 8 tractor-trailers.
  • 56% of truck rollover accidents occur on divided highways.
  • Less than half of truck rollovers occur on non-divided two-way roads.
  • Only 2% of large truck rollovers occur on one-way roads.
  • Most large truck crashes have multiple causes.
  • Nearly half of all truck accidents are caused by drivers failing to adequately adjust their speed to external factors like road or weather conditions.
  • Driver inattention, fatigue, and intoxication is a major contributor to large truck accidents.
  • The third-largest cause of truck rollovers was overcorrection or overcompensation, causing the driver to lose control of the truck.
  • Many rollover crashes are caused by improperly loaded or secured cargo.
  • Inadequate employee training at large commercial trucking companies accounted for many rollover accidents in the study.

Truck Accident Prevention Tips

  • Make sure you do not travel in a truck driver’s blind spots. You should always be able to see the driver or the truck’s mirrors in your front or rear view. If you can’t see the driver or the mirrors, it’s likely that you are in the driver’s blind spot and they cannot see you.
  • Leave plenty of space around a truck. Don’t follow too closely or merge too close in front of the truck. You should also avoid driving on the right side of a truck when it is stopped and preparing to make a right turn. Trucks make wide right turns and the side of the truck could easily collide with your vehicle.
  • If you’re a driver, never operate your truck while inebriated, fatigued, or distracted. Accidents due to these issues are entirely avoidable with minimal self-awareness and restraint.

Recover Damages After a Truck Rollover Accident

At Mazow | McCullough, PC, we know how devastating large truck accidents can be, especially when a truck rolls. We’re committed to providing truck rollover victims and their families with caring and compassionate legal support as they navigate the difficult months following a collisions.

Contact us now to discuss your case in more detail or to book an appointment to meet our truck accident team. Dial our Salem, MA office at (978) 744-8000 or toll-free at (855) 693-9084.

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