Every day, you probably cross paths with several large trucks on your way to work and while performing household tasks like buying groceries or taking your kid to volleyball practice. All it takes is a few seconds of bad judgment on the part of a truck driver for one of those interactions to turn into a life-altering catastrophe.

Large commercial trucks weigh substantially more than even the largest passenger vehicles, which means that they can cause a lot of damage to passenger vehicles, sometimes even crushing them or shearing the top off of the vehicle. When a passenger vehicle collides with a commercial vehicle, the smaller passenger vehicle almost always bears the brunt of the damage.

Catastrophic injuries are common in collisions with trucks. People can suffer closed head injuries, spinal cord injuries, compound fractures and even amputated limbs. Quite a few people also wind up dying as a result of commercial vehicle collisions. Despite your efforts to keep yourself and your loved ones safe, you can’t control the behavior of other drivers.

Trucking-related accidents are increasing

Currently, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has not yet released the 2018 statistical analysis for commercial vehicle crashes. However, 2017 saw a troubling continuation of the trend of increasing crash rates that has lasted for several years.

In 2017, there were 4,889 collisions involving large commercial vehicles that killed someone, which represents an increase of almost 10% when compared with the number of fatal commercial vehicle crashes in 2016. The number of crashes that produced injuries in 2017 also increased by 4% to 116,000 crashes in 2017.

There are a number of reasons why the rate of these crashes may be on the rise. One is a strong commercial economy that requires the ground transport of a wide range of goods and products. The other is the loosening of regulations on certain aspects of commercial driving and high demand for truck drivers resulting in looser hiring standards at many companies.

People in smaller vehicles can’t always prevent commercial crashes

The sad truth about commercial collisions is that quite a few are the result of truck drivers who drive while exhausted or text at the wheel. Some commercial drivers also drive while impaired by drugs or alcohol.

Regardless of why a commercial driver performs sub-optimally, the people in the smaller vehicle may end up paying the price. No matter how carefully you drive, you can’t always prevent a crash caused by a heavy and fast-moving commercial vehicle. Whether you lost a loved one in a crash or suffered a serious personal injury, you may be able to take legal action to seek compensation for your losses.