DIFFERENT TYPES, COMMON
Americans spend a lot of time on the road. According to the
U.S. Department ofTransportation, the nearly 3.15 trillion
miles Americans drove in 2015 set a new record. Motor vehicle
travel, including passenger cars, commercial trucks,
motorcycles, and buses, went up in all five U.S. regions. All
this driving represents an increase in vehicles on the road at
any given time, raising the probability of an accident. Indeed,
2015 saw more than 35,000 traffic fatalities across the
country, which was the highest increase in almost 50 years.
That’s in addition to the millions of collisions that are not
deadly but result in serious injuries.
Last year, there were approximately 99.8 billion vehicle-miles
of travel on Pennsylvania’s 120,000 miles of roads, resulting in
127,127 reportable traffic crashes.These crashes were fatal for
1,200 people and caused injury to another 80,004.That means
There were 348 reportable traffic crashes each day (about
15 crashes every hour).
There were 3 people killed in reportable traffic crashes
each day (one death every 7 hours).
There were 225 people injured in reportable crashes each
day (about 9 injuries every hour).
Driving a vehicle is a big responsibility and is not to
be taken lightly.Yet, many motorists take
considerable safety risks by not following traffic
laws or by driving while unable to focus on the task.
For example, car accidents are the leading cause of
death among 15- to 20-year-olds; primary reasons
are not wearing a seatbelt, speeding, and alcohol
Disregarding the rules of the road or engaging in unsafe
activities while driving can be considered negligence if a crash
happens that causes injuries to others. Driver error, such as
one of the following, is a factor in the majority of accidents:
Speeding/driving too fast for the conditions
Distracted or inattentive driver
Tailgating/following too closely
Disregarding traffic control devices.
While the negligence of the driver is the most common reason
for a vehicle accident, there are other parties that may be
responsible. Liability can lie with engineers who designed a
defective road, municipalities that inadequately maintained a
road, work zone crews that created a hazardous condition,
dock crews that improperly loaded a trailer, employers that
did not thoroughly train or supervise employees, mechanics
that did not properly repair or maintain a vehicle, and more.
There are more than 250 million passenger cars registered in the
U.S. and, despite many safety features, their popularity means
that they are involved in accidents more often than any other
vehicle type.When combined with light trucks, vans, and SUVs,
these four types accounted for the vast majority of Pennsylvania
crashes and occupant deaths last year.The most common types
of car accidents were:
Hitting a fixed object (embankments, guiderails, curbs, signs,
trees, poles, etc.)
Hitting a pedestrian
Accidents with commercial trucks are some of the most
devastating because of their sheer size. An average truck that
is fully loaded can weigh more than 80,000 pounds, while an
average car weighs less than 3,500 pounds. Some trucks haul
hazardous or flammable materials, which automatically
creates more danger simply by the nature of the truck's load.
Almost 7,500 heavy trucks were involved in Pennsylvania
crashes last year alone.
The freedom of the open road comes at a steep price for
many people who choose to ride motorcycles. Bikes have
no enclosed passenger compartment, airbags, or seatbelts,
so accidents often result in catastrophic injuries.Their
thinner, less noticeable profiles can render them invisible to
other drivers, who never even see the motorcycles when
making left-hand turns in front of them or side-swiping
them when changing lanes. In some instances, aggressive
drivers seem to aim right for motorcycle operators or to
deliberately follow too closely.
Almost 600 commercial buses were involved in crashes in the
Keystone State last year, plus another 314 school buses. Similar to
commercial tractor-trailers, buses are massive, and bus accidents can
result in devastating injuries to bus drivers, bus passengers,
pedestrians, or other motorists. Buses also pose a danger of rolling
over in a crash, ejecting passengers and landing on other vehicles.As
motor carriers, commercial buses are overseen by the federal
government, yet many have been allowed to continue operating
despite having had persistent safety violations.
Non-fatal vehicle accidents can result in just about every injury
imaginable to motorists and passengers. Head trauma in the form of a
concussion or traumatic brain injury is common because, upon vehicle
impact, the brain continues traveling until it is stopped by the inside of
the skull.These back-and-forth jolts can cause bruising, bleeding, and
tearing of nerve fibers. Other frequent injuries include:
Combining deaths, injuries, and property damage, the Pennsylvania
Department ofTransportation has calculated that the estimated
economic loss per every man, woman, or child in the state was $1,103
Broken bones in arms, legs, and chest
Internal bleeding and bruising
Spinal cord damage and paralysis
Whether you are a motorist, a passenger, a truck driver, or a
motorcyclist, we are all at risk and we all share the responsibility
for safety. Help yourself on Pennsylvania’s roads by:
Paying attention – put down the phone!
Staying alert – don’t drive while tired or impaired by alcohol.
Driving defensively – be mindful of other vehicles and
Not speeding – higher speeds make it harder to control your
Keeping a safe following distance.
Maintaining your vehicle.
Wearing a helmet and full protective gear when riding a
Regardless of the type of vehicle, every driver owes a duty of
care to others on the road. Unfortunately, some people do
not take that responsibility seriously, and their recklessness
can cause serious harm to others. If you have been injured in
a traffic accident that you believe was someone else’s fault,
you might be entitled to financial compensation.You need
an advocate fighting for you against insurance investigators
that are looking for ways to lowball a claim – or to avoid
paying it altogether.
ContactWapner Newman today for your free consultation,
either by filling out our online form or by calling us at 1-800-LAW-6600.