How Common Are Nebraska Truck Accidents?

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Sharing the road with large trucks, 18-wheelers and tractor-trailers can put your life at risk. If a truck driver or trucking company is negligent, meaning they fall short of the required amount of care that should be used, a devastating truck accident can occur. Keeping up with truck accident crash data in Nebraska can track whether these incidents are increasing or decreasing in frequency, as well as determine what can be done to prevent common crash risks.

Nebraska Truck Accident Statistics

Motor vehicle accidents are one of the top causes of unintentional injury death in Nebraska and throughout the United States. Until recently, Nebraska saw a downward trend in the number of traffic-related fatalities since the 1970s. However, the number of traffic deaths has increased in Nebraska since 2011. This includes the number of fatal accidents involving commercial trucks or big rigs.

In a report published by the Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT) summarizing crash data for 2020, 1,261 semi-trailer truck accidents were reported in the state. Of these accidents, 365 resulted in injuries and 35 were fatal. “Other heavy trucks” were responsible for an additional 16 deaths and 279 injuries. Statistically, heavy trucks are overrepresented in fatal traffic accidents in Nebraska – a trend the NDOT attributes to the increased severity of these crashes due to the large size of heavy trucks.

In a comparison of all types of motor vehicles involved in fatal crashes in Nebraska in 2020, light trucks were responsible for the largest percentage (38.6 percent), outstripping automobiles by 6.6 percent. Heavy trucks, while only accounting for 4.4 percent of all Nebraska traffic accidents, were involved in 15.1 percent of fatal collisions. The number of large trucks involved in Nebraska traffic accidents has remained relatively steady during the last decade, ranging from 3.5 percent to 4.4 percent since 2011.

National Truck Accident Data

Nationwide, commercial trucks are involved in thousands of catastrophic and fatal traffic accidents each year. Data published by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration states that 4,842 fatal accidents in the U.S. involved large trucks in 2020. This was a 4 percent decrease from 5,033 fatal crashes in 2019. The number of large trucks involved in injury accidents also decreased (by 10 percent), from 119,000 in 2019 to 107,000 in 2020.

There were 13.49 fatal large truck accidents per 1 million people in 2020, which represents a 27 percent increase from 2010. The vast majority (83 percent) of fatalities involved in large truck crashes were not occupants of the truck. Most fatal accidents involving large trucks occur in rural areas (54 percent) and Interstate highways (27 percent). The majority also occurred on weekdays (82 percent). The first harmful event in 72 percent of fatal truck accidents and 81 percent of injury truck accidents was “collision with a vehicle in transport.”

Common Injuries Suffered in Nebraska Truck Accidents

In general, the occupants of smaller vehicles suffer the worst of the injuries in a commercial truck accident. A standard passenger car is no match for the large size and weight of the average big rig, which can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. While a truck driver may suffer minor to no injuries, others involved in the crash could sustain life-changing injuries, such as:

  • Broken bones
  • Back and spinal cord injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Crush injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Severe burns
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Amputations
  • Internal injuries

In any given year, semi-truck accidents send thousands of victims to hospitals with injuries that may impact them for the rest of their lives. In most cases, these collisions are entirely preventable. They occur due to negligence by someone involved, such as the truck driver, trucking company, cargo company, truck manufacturer or maintenance crew.

What Are the Top Causes of Nebraska Truck Accidents?

The goal of collecting and analyzing large truck crash data is to learn how to reduce the risk of commercial truck accidents in the future. Experts use crash reports to identify the most common causes of deadly truck accidents. With this information, they can adapt common carrier laws and make changes to improve public safety. Common causes of big rig accidents in Nebraska include:

  • Truck driver error
  • Poor truck driver decision-making
  • Distracted driving 
  • Cell phone use behind the wheel
  • Speeding or driving too fast for conditions
  • Taking corners too quickly
  • Using the incorrect braking techniques
  • Following others too closely
  • Driving while drowsy or fatigued
  • Running red lights or failing to yield
  • Violating federal truck safety laws
  • Poor truck driver training and hiring practices
  • Poor fleet vehicle maintenance
  • Truck equipment breakdowns and part defects

Negligent, careless, distracted and reckless truck drivers are responsible for the majority of truck accidents in Nebraska. If trucking companies and their drivers obeyed all state and federal safety regulations, this would decrease the risk of serious truck accidents. Unfortunately, many common carriers cut corners to save time and money – leading to dangerous conditions that contribute to severe and fatal truck accidents.

What Are Your Rights After Being Injured in a Nebraska Truck Accident?

Truck accidents are more common in Nebraska than they should be due to human error and negligence. If you get injured in a commercial truck accident or a loved one loses his or her life in a fatal collision involving a big rig, seek help from a truck accident attorney in Omaha as soon as possible. You may be entitled to financial compensation from one or more responsible parties. 

If an investigation of your truck accident finds that the trucking company or driver behaved negligently or should have done more to prevent your crash, that party may be financially responsible for your medical bills, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, and more. Working with an experienced truck accident attorney can help you pursue fair financial compensation for your losses.

An attorney can help you protect your rights during negotiations with an insurance claims adjuster, who may not have your best interests in mind. Your lawyer can use aggressive negotiation strategies to fight for maximum compensation on your behalf. It is especially important to hire an attorney if a truck accident gave you a catastrophic or life-changing injury. Your lawyer will pursue a just monetary award for both past and future estimated losses.If you were recently involved in a truck accident in Nebraska, contact Knowles Law Firm for a free case consultation to learn more about your rights.