Tractor-trailer accidents remain a serious safety risk in our region. The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles found that there were nearly 10,000 commercial truck accidents reported statewide in 2020 alone. As a consequence of their immense size, tractor-trailer accidents are far more likely to result in catastrophic injuries or fatalities.
Safe operation of a commercial truck takes skill, focus, training, and experience. The research is clear: An under-trained or otherwise inexperienced driver is more likely to end up in a serious crash. Here, our truck accident lawyers provide an overview of the risk posed by inexperienced truckers and highlight the steps you need to take to protect your rights after a crash.
Study: Driver Inexperience Increases the Risk of a Commercial Truck Accident
The National Surface Transportation Safety Center for Excellence (NSTSCE) conducted a comprehensive analysis of trucker safety, focusing on driver age and experience. The NSTSCE found overwhelming evidence that trucker experience matters but that age—taken by itself and without regard to experience—does not make a significant difference. Overall, the researchers analyzed more than 9,000 commercial vehicle operators. Here are four key finds from the study:
- New Drivers are the Riskiest: Truckers with fewer than six months of experience were the most likely to be involved in a crash.
- Drivers With Fewer than Five Years of Experience More Risky: The study found that truckers who had fewer than five years of commercial driving experience were more likely to crash than more seasoned drivers.
- After Ten Years of Experience, Effect Levels Off: Once a trucker reaches ten years of experience, they typically do not exhibit any more experienced-related safety improvements. In other words, drivers with ten years of experience are about as safe on average as drivers with 20 years or 30 years of experience.
- Age Likely Does Not Matter: Age has no independent impact on trucker safety. Inexperienced truckers in their 50s actually crashed at a higher rate than inexperienced truckers in their 20s.
Why Inexperienced Truckers are More Likely to End Up in a Collision
The research clearly shows that inexperienced truckers are more likely to end up in a collision than more senior drivers. Why? There are several different reasons why inexperienced truckers may end up in a crash, including:
- Lack of familiarity with the vehicle.
- Lack of knowledge of trucking rules and regulations.
- Little driving experience with different weather conditions.
- Increased likelihood of engaging in risky driving behaviors.
What to Do After a Crash With a Commercial Truck in North Carolina
The immediate aftermath of a large truck accident in North Carolina can be chaotic and overwhelming. Knowing what to do can make a big difference. Here are four key things to do after a commercial truck accident in North Carolina:
- Report the Crash to Law Enforcement: All commercial truck accidents should be reported to the police. A collision should be reported to state or local law enforcement, such as the Hillsborough Police Department, Orange County Sheriff’s Office, or the North Carolina State Highway Patrol. A responding officer will help to control the scene.
- Document the Truck Accident: Truck companies are not automatically liable for crashes. These are fault-based cases in North Carolina. It is crucial that you gather and preserve relevant evidence. Be proactive in documenting a commercial truck accident. Write down your account of the crash, take pictures, and get witness statements.
- See a Doctor (Emergency Medical Needs Come First): A qualified doctor should evaluate all truck accident injuries. Of course, emergency needs take priority over anything else. Non-emergency injuries still require the proper care. You must see a doctor to be eligible to recover personal injury compensation in North Carolina.
- Consult With a Truck Accident Lawyer Before an Insurer: Truck companies have commercial insurance policies in place. These commercial insurers are aggressive. You cannot rely on them. Always consult with a North Carolina tractor-trailer accident lawyer before you give any statement to the truck company or its insurance carrier.
Schedule a No Cost Consultation With a Top North Carolina Truck Accident Today
At Paynter Law, our North Carolina truck accident attorneys fight tirelessly to protect the rights and interests of injured victims. Truck accidents can inflict a great deal of physical bodily harm, and victims deserve to receive full compensation from their truck accident claims.
If you were hurt in a crash caused by an inexperienced trucker, we are here to help. Contact us now or connect with us for a no-cost, no-commitment case review. From our Hillsborough law office, we handle commercial truck accident claims throughout the region.