You may not like to think about how vulnerable you are when you travel Colorado’s roads and highways. However, it is undeniable that you are at risk. Last year, over 37,000 people died on the nation’s highways, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. While that number is lower than the previous two years, that makes little difference if someone you love was among those thousands.
Especially disturbing to you may be that, while the trend is downward for most fatal accidents, those involving buses and large vehicles, such as tractor-trailers, are on the rise. In fact, deadly accidents involving combination trucks rose nearly 6 percent in the last year.
Looking past the numbers
It may seem obvious, but the size and weight of a tractor-trailer or other commercial vehicle contributes to the amount of damage that occurs during an accident. A big rig or bus traveling at highway speeds can lead to devastating consequences if a crash takes place.
The statistics by the NHTSA report only the fatalities. However, you must still consider those who emerge from these accidents with catastrophic and life-changing injuries, and those who are left behind to cope after a loved one loses his or her life. Perhaps you are among those.
Breaking it down
Nationwide, the good news is that there were 673 fewer deaths due to motor vehicle accidents. The U.S. saw a marked decline in bicycle fatalities, deaths in van accidents and fatal accidents related to speeding. You may be relieved to know there was even a slight decrease of 1.1 percent in the number of fatal accidents caused by drunk or impaired drivers. Even pedestrian fatalities, which have been shockingly high, dropped nearly 2 percent.
Nevertheless, if you drive frequently, you may be concerned that the rate of deaths increased in these areas:
- Occupants of SUVs saw a 3 percent increase in fatal injuries.
- Crashes involving tractor-trailers resulted in a nearly 6 percent increase in deaths.
- Accidents with box trucks and other single-unit commercial vehicles climbed by a terrifying 18.7 percent.
- Accidents involving large trucks rose 9 percent.
The NHTSA defines large trucks as vehicles between 10,000 and 14,000 pounds, and those may include buses and some oversized pickup trucks. In fact, five students died in bus crashes last year. If your commute places you in the path of these big vehicles, you have every reason to be concerned for your safety.
Facing a life-changing injury or the death of a loved one in a motor vehicle accident is traumatic, and seeking the compensation you deserve can be complicated when it involves commercial vehicles. An experienced attorney can be your advocate and fight for the recovery you deserve.