A U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) study highlighted the role of inexperienced truck drivers in accidents involving semitrailers.

The agency’s 2018 report showed that a driver with under five years of experience driving big rigs—35,000 pounds to 80,000 pounds including cargo—are 41% more likely to cause an accident than a more experienced driver.

Concerning trends

The most recent USDOT data showed that 4,102 people died in large truck accidents in 2017. The victims of these accidents included:

  • Truck occupants: 17%
  • Occupants of other passenger vehicles: 68%
  • Pedestrians or riders of single-passenger vehicles (bicycles, motorcycles): 14%

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) noted a 30% increase in the number of people who died in large truck crashes from 2009 to 2017. The fatality rate was even higher during the same period—52% for truck occupants.

Driver shortage

The trucking industry has seen a concerning shortage of drivers in recent years—and the problem is only expected to get worse.

The driver shortage has led trucking companies to offer higher pay and bonuses to attract the next generation of drivers. However, it has also led to an increase in inexperienced drivers. Highway safety advocates are calling for stricter regulations for training new drivers before they hit the open road.

Accidents involving semitrailers cause serious, often fatal, injuries and other damage due to the overwhelming force caused by speed and the massive weight of the vehicles. If you are injured in an accident with an 18-wheeler, it’s important to discuss your case with an experienced attorney. They can help you seek compensation—not just for your vehicle damage and current medical bills—but for broader consequences your injuries may have caused in your life.