As far as trucking accidents go, Fedex is on the wrong end of relatively few of them. Even so, with 73,000 vehicles on U.S. roads and nearly 2.8 billion miles traveled in 2019 alone, accidents do occasionally happen — and when any accident involves a truck, it can be devastating, especially for the driver of a smaller vehicle. In truck accidents, 82 percent of fatalities and 77 percent of injuries happen to the drivers and passengers of the smaller vehicles involved in the crash.
Just like drivers for other trucking companies, Fedex drivers are under constant pressure to keep to a schedule. And when this pressure is coupled with a tremendous volume of miles driven, through starts and stops, this can equal tragedy for those caught on the road during the rare accidents these trucks have.
Fedex truck on the highway in a snowstorm. Source: Wikipedia
What Causes Fedex Truck Accidents
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) keeps data on accidents and safety compliance — from the end of 2019 to the end of 2021 the company’s trucks have been involved in well over 2,000 accidents. Of these accidents, 908 caused injury and 77 proved fatal.
While the number of bad outcomes of these crashes comprises a small chunk of the nearly 5,000 deaths that truck accidents account for each year, even one wrongful accident can completely change the course of a life. And according to FMCSA data November 2019 to November 2021 FedEx Freight and FedEx Ground racked up a combined 9,147 citations for safety violations, with a significant portion of those violations going to FedEx Ground.
These violations included:
- Texting and driving
- Reckless driving
- Failing to obey traffic controls like traffic lights or signs
- Speeding through a construction zone
- Driving for more than the maximum number of hours
- Driving while fatigued
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
The Top Causes of Trucking Accidents
FedEx trucks are no different than any other large truck on the road, so it’s important to look at the common causes of large truck crashes nationwide to understand why FedEx trucks crash on our roadways.
- Drivers on a tight schedule: Although they are required by law to rest and take breaks, truckers are allowed by law to be behind the wheel for as much as 11 hours at a stretch. And most truckers are expected to work 70 hours a week for eight days at a stretch.
- Driver fatigue: Driver fatigue is one of the main risk factors for large truck crashes, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
- Drug use: In numerous studies, as many as 91% of drivers interviewed admitted they drank on the job, while 82% admitted to using amphetamines while driving.
- Mechanical breakdowns: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Fatal Causation Study found that trucks suffered from at least one mechanical failure in up to 55% of large truck accidents.
- Inappropriate driver training: Trucking companies are responsible for hiring drivers that meet all certifications and training requirements. If a driver is not properly certified or trained, and then becomes involved in an accident, the company may be liable for damages.
- Tire defects: About 30% of all trucking accidents stem from tire defects, making them the top cause of all trucking accidents.
The Impact of Trucking on American Roads
In January 2020, a Fedex truck was involved in what has been described as the worst accident in decades. Although the Fedex tractor trailer involved did not cause the crash, simply through its massive presence it played a role in the death of 5 people and the injury of 60 more.
Although commercial trucks only make up about 4 percent of all registered vehicles on American roads, they account for 10 percent of vehicle fatalities. This makes sense when you realize that trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds — 20 times more than the average sedan!
So when trucks hit snags in their schedule, or have been on the road for more hours than they are legally allowed in order to hit their targets, they comprise a threat to all other drivers on the road, a threat that continues to take its share of lives year after year.
Source: Pxhere.com, photographer Vincent Desjardins, shared under Creative Commons Zero license
Some Facts on Truck Accidents
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration releases annual reports on large truck crashes that provides interesting insights into how and why large trucks crash. Their data from 2019 yields the following accident facts:
- Most fatal truck crashes occur during the day, with well over 60 percent of crashes occurring during daytime hours. 77 percent of fatal crashes occur during weekdays during daytime hours.
- Nearly 75 percent of these crashes occur on non-interstate roads, with 56 percent occurring in rural areas.
- More than 22 percent of all large-truck drivers involved in fatal crashes had at least one previously recorded crash, a slightly higher percentage than the rate of passenger car drivers involved in fatal crashes, who have a rate of just under 19 percent.
- The drivers of large trucks involved in fatal accidents with high blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) was 2 percent in 2019.
- The number of fatal crashes involving large trucks has increased 16 percent since 2016, and the involvement rate per 100 million miles driven by large trucks has increased by 11 percent.
- When the speed limit is over 55 mph, or there is poor weather, or a curved road, trucks have a significantly higher chance for both rollovers and jackknifes.
The Number of Delivery Trucks on the Road Is Increasing Rapidly
If you think there are a lot of delivery trucks on the road now, just wait. The World Economic Forum has estimated that there will be over one-third more delivery vehicles on the road by 2030. That means an estimated 80 percent growth in delivery vehicles over the next ten years, as more and more people turn to online shopping and home delivery.
FedEx Ground is currently reporting that there are critical labor shortages in its company, causing more than 600,000 packages a day to be rerouted. This has led to longer delivery routes, and the use of more third-party delivery companies. All of these issues can lead to overworked, over-tired drivers, which can spell out disaster for those sharing the roads with these large trucks.
Injuries from FedEx Trucking Accidents Can Be Catastrophic
Whenever anyone is injured by a crash with a large truck, the chances that they will suffer fatal or life threatening injuries increases. Trucks weigh on average 20-30 percent more than small passenger vehicles, and require much greater distances to stop than a passenger car.
- Spinal cord injuries: Large truck crashes often cause spinal cord injuries, which is any injury that causes the vertebrae of your spine to be damaged. Spinal cord injuries can result in muscle weakness, or loss of mobility.
- Whiplash: Whiplash occurs when the driver or passenger’s neck “whips” back and forth rapidly. Whiplash will often heal over time, but in severe cases can leave long lasting effects.
- Internal Bleeding: Organ damage or internal bleeding can be caused by trauma to the abdomen, or by puncture wounds caused by accidents with large trucks.
- Head injury: Accidents with a FedEx truck can cause a concussion, or in severe cases, a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Our Track Record Winning Truck Accident Cases
- $4.5 million settlement on behalf of a young mother who was killed after a trucking company driver failed to stop at a stop sign. The driver and his company were found to be in violation of the hours of service laws, which are statutes governing the number of consecutive hours that drivers can be behind the wheel.
- $2.9 million settlement for a young woman’s survivors when a truck wheel came off the vehicle and struck the woman’s car, killing her. The truck driver had failed to properly perform a pre-trip certification and inspection of wheels.
- $1.8 million settlement for a 43-year-old woman whose vehicle was struck by a tractor-trailer that crossed the road’s center line, causing her multiple traumatic injuries and permanent disability.
- $1.35 million settlement for the estate of a 58-year-old man whose car was hit by a truck while waiting in traffic.
When to Consult With an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer
At McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt, we take a vested interest in your case. You never pay a dime unless we win. In many cases, we can also advance the expenses necessary to work with experts. We like to view ourselves as partners in your case, and in the challenge of maximizing your claim.
With 30 years of experience litigating truck accident cases, McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt welcomes clients from New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania communities near and far. To schedule a meeting for a free consultation, fill out our form or call us directly at 1-866-721-8431.