The mix of small passenger vehicles and large commercial trucks on Colorado roadways presents some dangers to all drivers involved. Driving mistakes by both the operators of cars and big rigs contribute to accidents that cause injury and even death.
Data analyzed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for the years 2011 and 2012 showed that most of the people injured or killed in truck accidents are the occupants of passenger vehicles. Nationwide, 64,000 injured people or 72 percent of those involved in truck accidents were inside the smaller vehicles. In the category of fatalities, 2,713 victims were in passenger vehicles, which also represented 72 percent of the total deaths in truck accidents. In Colorado for 2012, 51 of the 635 fatal accidents involved large trucks. This was 8 percent of the total, about the same as the national average of 8.3 percent.
Driver errors or inexperience are behind many truck accidents, especially fatal ones. Operators of passenger vehicles sometimes make disastrous left turns in front of big rigs because they misjudge the speed of the approaching trucks. Unsafe passing and merging into traffic at an insufficient speed are other common problems. As for the commercial drivers, the pressure to meet demanding schedules can fatigue them and make them drive too fast.
As the data shows, occupants of passenger vehicles suffer the majority of injuries and deaths in truck accidents. A person injured in a semi-truck accident may have cause for a personal injury claim if the truck driver or trucking company did something negligent that resulted in the accident. An attorney may be able to help a person in that situation determine if a personal injury lawsuit has potential to recover damages like medical expenses and lost income.