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Any Accident. Any Injury. Anywhere.

Trucking Accident Investigations

March 29th 2019

In North America, and across the world, we depend on large trucks for the transport and delivery of products. However, the trucking profession can pose high risks for both truck drivers and other motorists. In 2017, 4,889 large trucks and buses were involved in fatal crashes, which was a 9-percent increase from 2016 [1]. In 2016, of the 34,439 fatal crashes on U.S. roadways, 4,079 (11.8-percent) involved at least one large truck or bus. In addition, there were an estimated 7,242,000 non-fatal crashes, 537,000 (7.4-percent) of which involved at least one large truck or bus [2]. Furthermore, in 2016, 9.5-percent of large truck drivers who were involved in fatal crashes were not wearing any type of safety belt [2].

As with any accident investigation, there are many factors to be considered when investigating and reconstructing a trucking or heavy vehicle accident. Some of these factors are mechanical, and related to the truck or vehicle itself. Was the truck fit to be in operation? Had it been maintained regularly? Was it loaded properly? Is the truck equipped to have its heavy vehicle event data recorder imaged? The safety of the roadway itself may also be called into question from an engineering or design perspective. A more exhaustive list of factors to consider can be found here:

Of course, the driver’s behavior and training are also very important to consider in any investigation. All drivers of trucks and heavy vehicles must possess the appropriate license showing they are qualified to operate their vehicle. However, a recent accident in Saskatchewan, Canada, shows that possessing a valid license does not necessarily mean a driver has been properly trained/or has the appropriate experience to operate such a vehicle. This particular collision happened after the driver of the truck drove through a stop sign and collided with a bus at a rural Saskatchewan intersection. Sixteen people were killed and 13 others injured [3]. The driver was stated to have been distracted by a tarp flapping on the trailer of his truck, which caused him to miss four signs warning of the intersection up ahead, as well as the over-sized stop sign with a flashing light [3]. This terrible tragedy emphasizes how quickly human error can become fatal.

As such, when investigating and reconstructing trucking\heavy vehicle accidents, it is crucial to have a team of multi-disciplined experts to guide the process. Do not settle for an expert without training and experience specific to trucking/heavy vehicle accident reconstruction.