October 9, 2014

When many of us think about vehicle accidents, we instantly conjure images of the smoking and crumpled remains of cars or SUVs on the highway as we travel to and from our destinations. Most of us forget that we also share the roads with fleets of commercial vehicles that also become involved in similar accidents.

Commercial vehicles are vehicles hired to move people and things along our roadways. A few examples of these are taxis, chartered motorcoaches, cargo and utility vans and even airport shuttles. The point is that commercial vehicles can be found among nearly every class of vehicle using Pennsylvania roadways.

A comprehensive 2012 study of traffic crash statistics reviewed accidents that occur throughout the Commonwealth based on vehicle type. Although the study only singled out commercial buses for its report among the various types of commercial vehicles, there is still much we can learn about the potential frequency of accidents and those types of vehicles. The following are some of the relevant statistics from that report:

— Passenger vehicles accounted for the majority of the total 124,092 reported accidents in 2012. Cars were involved in a whopping 89,509 accidents or 72.1 percent of all accidents that year.

— Light trucks, vans and SUVs were involved in 59,112 accidents or 47.6 percent of all crashes.

— There were 393 accidents involving school buses in 2012, accounting for 0.3 percent of all accidents.

— There were 581 commercial bus related accidents in 2012 or 0.5 percent of traffic collisions.

Perhaps the most important takeaway from these statistics is that commercial vehicle accidents are an inevitable reality regardless of the mode of transportation. If you are a Pennsylvania motorist who was injured through no fault of your own in a commercial vehicle accident, there are a few things you should know.

Unlike an accident involving a regular vehicle, you may sometimes be entitled to sue the driver as well as his or her employer for compensation for your losses. In some cases, an employer who uses negligent hiring practices or fails to provide adequate supervision and training for their drivers can be held liable for your medical costs, lost wages and other similar expenses.

Source: Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, “2012 Pennsylvania Crash Facts & Statistics” Oct. 09, 2014