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Tennessee Remains Dangerous for All Drivers

Written for Tony Seaton

Tennessee is dangerous for all drivers, not just those involved in trucking accidents. Although there are some minor improvements to report, overall fatal accident rates remain well above the national average. In 2014, the US average for fatalities per 100,000 residents stood at 10.25. For Tennessee, this rate was 14.69, according to National Highway Transportation Statistics. The safest states have rates around three per 100,000.

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In terms of fatalities per 100 million miles traveled, Tennessee's rate is also well above the national average. Overall, Tennessee's fatality rate stands about 30% worse than the national average, and is about 2.5 times worse than the safest states for drivers. In terms of alcohol-related fatalities, Tennessee remains about 30% worse than the national average and again more than twice as dangerous as the safest states. Fortunately, very few truck accidents involve an alcohol-impaired driver.

Are Truck Drivers Safer behind the Wheel?

The 2007 Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS) showed that most truck accidents are caused by the truck driver. Neither vehicle equipment failure, weather conditions, or other drivers were shown to be a bigger factor than the driver. Some of the common ways that truck drivers caused a crash included:

  • Interrupting the flow of traffic
  • Lack of attention to the roadway
  • Being unfamiliar with the roadway
  • Driving too fast for conditions
  • Driving while tired.

There is a good chance that if someone is involved in a truck accident, the truck driver is to blame. That could cause a victim of a trucking accident to need the services of a semi truck accident attorney.

Overall, trucks are responsible for 55% of the accidents that they are involved in, mostly from driver error. However, in two-vehicle crashes involving a passenger vehicle, the cause can be linked to the passenger vehicle in 56% of accidents. Still, motor vehicle accidents are incredibly complex and often there are multiple causes to a crash.

Truckers are Professional Drivers

One area where truck drivers are much safer than average is in the use of alcohol while driving. Driving under the influence of alcohol is a cause of only 1% of truck crashes. In comparison, over 30% of total traffic fatalities involve an impaired driver. A semi truck accident attorney knows that there are many other causes of serious truck accidents besides an impaired driver.

It might seem that truck drivers would also be more likely to be tired and cause an accident. They spend long hours on the road day after day, and fatigue seems likely. However, the vast majority of truck drivers are true professionals, and only drive when rested. Passenger vehicle drivers tend to cause more accidents because of tiredness. When taken as one statistic, truck drivers are half as likely to cause an accident because of fatigue, alcohol, or drug use.

Another area where truck drivers are much safer involves their health. Passenger vehicle drivers are a surprising five times more likely to have an illness such as a heart attack or a stroke cause an accident. It seems that most truck drivers know when they are too unwell to drive, and choose to avoid getting behind the wheel.

The Danger of Trucks in Tennessee

Each and every year there are approximately 100 people killed in Tennessee in truck accidents. For people in passenger vehicles who are involved in a truck accident, their risk of death is extremely high. In 2013, there were just over 2,000 fatalities nationally involving a tractor-trailer and at least one other passenger vehicle. Only 3% of the fatalities were inside the larger vehicle.

Passenger vehicles are at an incredible disadvantage in a trucking accident. A fully loaded tractor-trailer can weigh thirty times what a passenger vehicle does. When combined with the fact that drivers in Tennessee have fatality rates significantly higher than the national average, the overall risk of dying or being injured in a trucking accident is much higher than in other states.

Drivers of all types need to take steps to avoid becoming another Tennessee crash statistic in need of a semi truck accident attorney. The most important of these for the average driver is to slow down and avoid impaired driving. For truck drivers, they need to pay more attention to the areas where they are driving and also simply slow down.

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