Semi-Truck Wreck Deaths Increasing in Kentucky

07/02/2020 | Auto, Semi & Motorcycle Wrecks

Semi-trucks on Kentucky’s highways and interstates continue to be disproportionally involved in fatal and injury collisions.  The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet defines trucks as having a registered weight of 10,000 pounds or more.  While semi-trucks were involved in 4.35 percent of the total collisions in Kentucky in 2018, semi-trucks were involved in 9.38 percent of the fatal collisions. 

The fatal crash rate on rural, two-lane roadways is much higher than any road type.  45 percent of truck collisions occurred on these U.S. and state-numbered routes, whereas only 30 percent occurred on interstates and 19 percent on county or city streets.  Of the hazardous cargo collisions, 31 percent occurred on interstates and 55 percent on U.S. and state numbered routes.  One theory behind this data is the large number of coal industry related trucks on these routes.  Counties having the highest rates of semi-truck wrecks contain at least one interstate highway or have a large amount of coal truck traffic.   

Commercial trucks make up only about five and a half percent of vehicles registered in Kentucky.  Of course, this does not account for all of the out of state semi-trucks that drive on Kentucky’s interstates.  Other than tracking collisions of trucks on Kentucky roadways, there is no data to account for the number of semi-trucks that pass through Kentucky annually. 

Some trucking companies or drivers choose to ignore the federal safety requirements for semi-trucks.  Sometimes, the company or driver has simply failed to maintain the truck properly.  For example, the truck may have defective brakes, lighting failures, steering failure, tire failure, or be improperly or overly loaded.  Another common problem is driver distraction.  Trucks are generally equipped with electronic devices now such as dispatching devices, GPS devices, or other dashboard technology.  Drivers may also be fatigued, on the phone, texting, or eating while driving.

U.S. Department of Transportation data shows since 2014 semi-truck wrecks, injuries and fatalities have steadily increased.  The Poppe Law Firm is experienced in handling injury and fatal collisions against both in-state and out-of-state trucking companies and drivers.  We have recovered tens of millions of dollars on behalf of our clients over the years.  If you or a family member have been injured in a semi-truck wreck, contact the Poppe Law Firm for a free consultation at 502-895-3400 or PoppeLawFirm.com