Trucking Accident

Large Vehicle Crashes in Orange County, Riverside and San Bernardino

According to the US Department of Transportation, there are over 500,000 large truck* accidents in the US every year. In 2-vehicle crashes involving a large truck and a passenger vehicle, the injured parties are generally everyone except the truck driver. 78% of fatalities and 84% of serious injuries are the occupants of the passenger vehicle.


Large trucks weigh in at a minimum of 5 tons. Combination trucks (identified as a truck tractor pulling any number of trailers) can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds (40 tons). We won’t overwhelm you with the physics, but after examining the math behind vehicle weight and impact, an 80,000 pound truck traveling at a speed of 75 mph equates to approximately 2 dozen sticks of dynamite.


Several of the associated factors that contribute to trucking accidents (with large truck vehicle operators at fault) include brake problems, drug use (prescription and/or over the counter), driving too quickly and fatigue. These are controllable factors that need to be considered when assessing your rights should you or a loved one be involved in a trucking accident in Orange County, Riverside, Los Angeles or San Bernardino Counties.


Startling Truck Accident Numbers

According to the US Department of Transportation and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, since the 1970s approximately 12 to 13% of all traffic-related fatalities were the result of a crash involving a large truck. One person is killed or injured in a truck accident every 16 minutes. In 2009 3,619 people were killed in trucking accidents while another 93,000 were injured.


Orange County, Riverside, Los Angeles and San Bernardino drivers don’t need to be reminded of the heavy trucking presence on our roadways. California consistently ranks as the 2nd highest state for fatalities resulting from large trucks. Most trucking accidents occur in rural areas (68% of all crashes) and most of these accidents happen on weekends (78% of all crashes).


The injuries sustained to occupants of passenger vehicles when involved in large truck collisions are significant. It’s essential that if you or a loved one is involved in a large truck accident, seek legal representation with an attorney who is well-educated in the intricacies of the trucking industry. Regulations pertaining to the trucking industry are complex in Orange, Riverside, Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties; your attorney needs to be versed in Federal and State regulations. Additionally, many large truck drivers are contracted through multi-billion dollar organizations, allowing them the financial means to employ an entire team of lawyers who can add to the complexities and stresses of the legal process.


Financial Impact

According to a report released by the US Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration December 2010 report, the average cost per crash involving Commercial Motor Vehicles (large trucks and busses) are as follows:


  • Fatalities: $7,200,000.00
  • Injury Crash: $331,000.00


At the Law Offices of Michael J. Holmes, pursuing financial damages equal to or exceeding these amounts is not uncommon in Orange County, Riverside, Los Angeles and San Bernardino courts. Many factors determine financial impact. Due to the scope of damages inflicted during a large truck collision, long-term health issues are unfortunately, quite common. Traumatic brain, spinal and head injuries, broken bones, burns, disfigurement, and paralysis can result in disability. Other contributing factors include examining lost wages, emotional distress and long-term medical expenses.


At the Law Offices of Michael J. Holmes, we are equipped to represent your interests in all manner of large truck related accidents. As part of our preparation, we can work with a former law enforcement officer, now private investigator, to make sure that we have all the information available on your case – even information the other side may not. The complexities of these cases can require intensive investigation. Let our team employ our Orange County, Riverside and San Bernardino network of trucking resources and vigorously pursue the maximum compensation you are entitled to.


Large Truck Accident Reports and Statistical Data

July 2007 the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Office of Research and Analysis teamed up with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to release The Large Truck Crash Causation Study. During the 33-month period of analysis, there were approximately 120,000 nationwide fatality and injury crashes that involved at least one large truck.


The study focused on a sample group of 963 crashes were comprehensive data was collected and documented. A crash researcher traveled to each crash site as soon as possible after the crash occurred. The researchers collected crash scene data through interviews with drivers, passengers and witnesses. The inspectors conducted exhaustive inspections of the trucks, the drivers’ logbooks and other documentation. After departing the crash site, the researchers went on to collected additional data through interviews with motor carriers and when the actual drivers could not be interviewed, surrogate drives. The researchers also focused upon police crash reports, hospital records, coroner reports and in some cases, revisited the crash scene.


For each crash, data was collected on up to 1000 elements, including condition of the truck driver and the other drivers involved before the crash; the behavior of the driver during the crash, the condition of the trucks and other vehicles, roadway factors, weather conditions, etc.


3 Key Variables as Defined by the LTCCS Study

Critical Event: The action or event that put the vehicle(s) on a course that made the collision unavoidable. The critical event is assigned to the vehicle that took the action that made the crash inevitable.


  • Running out of the travel lane, either into another lane or off the road (32% of the large trucks in the sample fell under this category)
  • Vehicle loss of control due to travelling too fast for conditions, cargo shift, vehicle systems failure, poor road conditions, or other reasons (29% fell under this category)
  • Colliding with the rear end of another vehicle in the truck’s travel lane (22% fell under this category)


Critical Reason: The immediate reason for the critical event (i.e. the failure leading to the critical event). The critical reason is assigned to the vehicle coded with the critical event in the crash. It can be coded as a driver error, vehicle failure, or environmental condition (i.e. roadway or weather).


Of the large trucks involved in ALL LTCCS crashes (single vehicle and multi vehicle) 55% were assigned the critical reason in crashes.


4 categories of Driver Critical Reasons include:


  1. Non-Performance: The driver fell asleep, was disabled by a heart attack or seizure or was physically impaired for another reason.
  2. Recognition: The driver was inattentive, was distracted by something inside or outside of the vehicle, or failed to observe the situation adequately due to some other reason.
  3. Decision: Driver was driving too fast for conditions, misjudged the speed of other vehicles or followed other vehicles too closely.
  4. Performance: Driver panicked, overcompensated or exercised poor directional control.


Associated Factors: The person, vehicle and environmental conditions present at the time of the crash. No judgment is made as to whether any factor is related to the reason for a particular crash, just whether the factor was present. The list of the many factors that can be coded provides enough information to describe the circumstances of the crash.


Top 10 Associated Factors

  1. Brake Problems
  2. Traffic flow interruption (congestion, previous crash)
  3. Prescription Drug Use
  4. Travelling too fast for conditions
  5. Unfamiliarity with roadway
  6. Roadway problems
  7. Required to stop before crash (traffic control device, crosswalk)
  8. Over the counter drug use
  9. Inadequate surveillance
  10. Fatigue


Defining fault for the trucking accidents where fault is attributed to the large truck, the ‘fault’ clearly falls upon the truck driver.


  1. Truck Driver – 87%
  2. Vehicle – 10%
  3. Environment – 3%


An Experienced and Aggressive Truck Accident Attorney Serving Orange County, Riverside County, Los Angeles County and San Bernardino County

Truck Accident cases are taken on a contingency fee basis. When we accept your case, you pay no fees or costs unless we recover damages for you. Bottom line: If YOU don’t get paid, we don’t either. For those who may be struggling with injuries or handicaps, we are glad to arrange meeting you at the hospital or your home; whichever is most convenient for you.


If you or a loved one was has been the victim of a truck accident, we urge you to contact our law office for a free consultation. We are available 24 hours a day at (888) 322-3945. For your convenience, evening and weekend appointments are available.


The Law Offices of Michael J. Holmes, PC, serves San Bernardino, Riverside, Los Angeles, and Orange County.


Office Address:


505 North Tustin Avenue. Suite 195
Santa Ana, CA 92705
Telephone (714) 667-6844