Each year, thousands of semi accidents occur on U.S roadways, each involving a wide variety of situations and circumstances. Statistics related to semi crashes are carefully tracked since this information is used to assess current safety laws and create new ones.
Despite this, one of the most important statistics, namely which party caused the accident, is not included. Many feel this is an important omission that controls the effectiveness of any safety laws designed to reduce semi wrecks.
Purpose of Tracking Semi Accident Statistics
The compilation of crash statistics is an essential part of analyzing semi accidents to determine what happened, how it happened, and what caused the accident. Everything from vehicle speed and weather conditions to driver health and previous violations is recorded after an accident and submitted to the safety administrations responsible for making laws to improve trucking safety.
Using this information, administrators can study specific data sets to determine what safety risks need to be addressed in order to reduce the associated semi crashes.
Why Is Accident Cause Not An Included Statistic?
While all the various details that result in semi wrecks are important for analyzation, there is one important detail that is consistently unavailable on published crash statistical reports and this is who caused the crash. The information is available to insurance companies, since it affects accident case settlements; however, it is not included in the yearly statistics on semi crashes published by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
Some suggest this information is difficult to gather and that accuracy is a concern. Many times "fault" is documented in the initial police report based on the determination of the attending officer at the scene, although this is not always the case. Others point to inaccurate accounts of what happened to be the reason fault is not identified.
Accurately semi accident fault determination requires careful investigation. As a result, the issue of gathering correct information has seemingly led to a situation where it is omitted from important safety statistics.
Why Include Cause As A Statistic?
The critical factor in omitting the important detail of who caused a trucking accident is the fact that it affects the formation of new safety laws designed to reduce semi wrecks. Every accident circumstance is different; sometimes the person who is assumed to be at fault is not. A driver can be assumed to be at fault initially, yet the assumption is later proven to be false after a detailed investigation and reconstruction of the crash has been completed.
What this means is that new safety regulations and laws are being written based on incomplete statistics. Omitting this essential detail suggests that these laws may not be helpful in reducing the incidence of semi accidents and some may even be harmful. Regulations that do not address actual accident causation are useless, wasteful, and actually put the level of risk back to the same level it was before the new regulation was instituted.
Considering how important it is to know who was at fault for a semi crash, the question remains: why is this detail being omitted from the statistical data used to amend and write safety laws designed to reduce semi wrecks? It is an unanswered question that begs the collective attention of insurance companies, lawmakers, and the IIHS!
Hildebrand & Wilson, LLP
Robert W. Hildebrand, Attorney at Law
J. Daniel Wilson, Attorney at Law
7830 Broadway, Suite 122
Pearland TX 77581
Phone: (281) 410-5810