In 2012, traffic fatalities in the United States dropped to some of the lowest levels ever. However, the number of fatal accidents involving drivers of bicycles and large trucks actually rose. In 2011, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration analyzed data that showed a sharp increase in the number of bicycle and truck related fatalities. In 2011, traffic accident related fatalities in the United States decreased by 1.9% to 32,367 – some of the lowest levels since 1949. In 2012, accidents involving large trucks and their occupants increased 20% from the previous year.
So, why has this increase in truck and bicycle related accidents taken place? As far as bike accidents are concerned – perhaps it is because of the increase in number of bicyclists out on the road. As more and more Americans adopt biking as a healthy and environmentally-conscious alternative to driving, there are both benefits and consequences, such as increased incidence of bike related accidents and bicyclist fatalities. If you are a bicyclist, always wear your helmet and use a headlight when riding after dark. Do your best to avoid busy roads and intersections, and assume that vehicles may not see you on the road.
The increase in fatalities resulting from truck accidents, may also be due to an increase in trucking and freight activity in America, due to improving economic conditions. Truck driving can be a grueling occupation with long hours behind the wheel, that’s why it is important for truck drivers to maintain full attention on the road, and to pull over to rest when necessary.
As a driver of a truck or a bicycle you must take all necessary safety precautions when on the road. Be aware that there is increased risk when you get behind the steering wheel of a truck or bicycle. If you or a loved has been involved in a truck driving accident or a bicycle accident, I recommend scheduling a consultation with a lawyer who handles either bicycle accident personal injury cases or truck accident personal injury cases.
In the meantime, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating these new statistics to determine the underlying causes for the increase in the accidents and understand when there has been an increase in these types of fatalities.