Accidents involving tractor-trailers, semi-trucks, and 18-wheelers may not happen as frequently as car crashes, but when they do occur, the outcome is usually more devastating. Their large size, combined with the powerful physical forces involved when they’re in motion, often cause severe and even fatal injuries in a collision.
Truck accidents are catastrophic, but how common are they? In this blog, the truck accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Alan LeVar examine crash statistics over the last 20 years to verify how often they occur on Arkansas roads and highways.
Why Do Arkansas Truck Accidents Occur?
The Arkansas Highway System consists of over 16,000 miles of U.S. Routes, Interstates, state highways, and smaller routes. U.S. Route 67, which runs nearly 300 miles from Texarkana to Missouri, is the longest route, but the I-40, I-49, and I-540 also see their fair share of commercial vehicles. When accidents happen, it’s often due to one of the following situations.
Defective brakes and hitches, fractured axles, blown tires, and detached wheels are some of the common causes of truck-related accidents. Unsecured loads and equipment that fall off the back of a truck during transit can also lead to a collision.
Improper Truck Maintenance
In addition to defective parts, truck accidents are often caused by substandard maintenance of the vehicle or any of its parts, such as the brakes and steering system. If a vehicle is not properly maintained, many of its parts may not function properly, which can result in a safety hazard.
Because truck drivers work and drive long hours, many of them turn to drugs to stay awake. However, those who use alcohol or drugs experience a slower reaction time, reduced coordination, and decreased ability to concentrate, all of which can lead to an accident.
There are strict rules governing how long a driver can be on the road without resting, as fatigued driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. However, many trucking companies push their drivers to travel for as long as possible in order to boost the bottom line.
As with all motorists, truck drivers are required to follow the rules of the road to ensure the safety of everyone on the road. When these rules are violated, it could lead to a serious accident with devastating injuries. Examples of violations include speeding, distracted driving, and running a red light.
Irrespective of what cargo is in a commercial truck, or what route the driver takes, the risk of a fatal accident increases when the vehicle is defective or the driver is impaired by drugs, alcohol, or fatigue. Now let’s take a closer look at the statistics.
Arkansas Truck Accidents- a 20-Year-Overview
Between 2000 and 2019, there was a grand total of 1606 truck accidents involving 1815 trucks on Arkansas roads and highways, many of which involved multiple vehicles.
- 2000: There were 102 accidents in total, involving 111 trucks.
- 2001: Accident total fell slightly with a total of 89 collisions involving 103 trucks.
- 2002: The number of accidents fell for the second year in a row, with 76 collisions. There were also fewer trucks involved at 79, suggesting that there were fewer multi-vehicle collisions than in 2000 and 2001.
- 2003: The accident total climbed up to 92, representing a 21% increase over the year before. Although this was the highest total in three years, it involved the second-lowest number of trucks at 101.
- 2004: The number of accidents receded slightly at 89 while the number of trucks involved experienced a more significant reduction at 94 vehicles.
- 2005: This year was the highest for both number of accidents (107) and the number of trucks involved (130) during the 20-year-period. November 25, 2005, saw the formation of 24 tornadoes around the I-40 in the west/northwestern region of Arkansas, which may have played a role in the accident count.
- 2006: The number of accidents fell to 84 incidents involving a total of 98 trucks.
- 2007: The accident count went up by 15% over the year before, resulting in 97 accidents involving 110 trucks.
- 2008: This year, the accident levels started to drop, and never rose above 85 for the rest of the 20-year reporting period. There were 70 accidents, representing a 28% reduction over the year before, and only 77 trucks were involved, which was the lowest total since 2002.
- 2009: The number of accidents climbed very slightly at 71, but there were more multi-truck collisions, as the vehicle total was 81.
- 2010: There were 74 accidents involving 79 trucks, so fewer trucks were involved overall in each accident.
- 2011: This year saw an increase in both the number of accidents (85) and the number of trucks involved (104). According to this weather blog, 2011 was the 4th most active tornado year in modern Arkansas history, so the weather may have played a role in this outcome.
- 2012: Although there was a minor decrease with 83 accidents, the number of trucks involved (89) fell by 15%.
- 2013: The accident total fell considerably at 74, but the vehicle total remained relatively consistent at 86, indicating that more multi-truck crashes took place.
- 2014: At 70 accidents involving 77 trucks, there were fewer incidents compared to 2013 and those that did occur were mostly single-truck crashes.
- 2015: This year was the third-lowest for accidents during the 20-year period. There were 66 accidents involving 73 trucks in total.
- 2016: At 65 accidents involving 70 vehicles, this year experienced the second-lowest rate of both accident totals and number of vehicles involved.
- 2017: There was a noticeable jump in the number of accidents to 81. The number of trucks involved also climbed to 91. According to this weather history report, severe thunderstorms occurred across Arkansas in May, with hail up to four inches in diameter being reported in Logan, Boone, and Marion Counties.
- 2018: The number of accidents fell to 77, but there were more trucks involved, with 95 being the reported number.
- 2019: This year witnessed the lowest number of reported accidents at 54 and the second-lowest total for trucks involved at 67.
It appears that the most devastating years in terms of accident totals and vehicles involved coincide with major weather events in Arkansas, but not all of those incidents can be attributed to tornados or hail. When trucking companies fail to maintain their fleets and drivers are impaired, exhausted, or fail to obey the rules of the road, it can lead to accidents that cause disabling injuries and even wrongful death.
As experienced personal injury lawyers, we know how financially and emotionally devastating a truck accident can be. The Law Offices of Alan LeVar has helped clients across Arkansas pursue justice and compensation for their injuries and won’t settle for less than the full value of your claim. We understand what you’re going through and an Arkansas truck accident lawyer at our firm will handle all communications with the trucking companies, their insurers, and their counsel so you can focus on healing.
Talk to an Arkansas Truck Accident Lawyer Today
Those injured by a trucking company or driver negligence will need an experienced attorney to help them seek compensation. Many commercial insurance companies take action quickly, offering lowball settlements to victims. Don’t let them take advantage of you- contact the Law Offices of Alan LeVar to get your claim started. For more information, please call 870-246-7070 or use our contact form.