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Semi Truck Facts & Accident Fatalities

Written by Cooper and Friedman on May 14, 2019

Most passenger vehicle drivers tend to get a little nervous when driving in the vicinity of a large tractor trailer. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and Highway Loss Data Institute, large trucks actually have a much lower crash rate than passenger cars. However, when an accident involving a semi truck does occur, the results are often serious, if not deadly. This is especially the case for those in passenger vehicles as they tend to be no match for the sheer size and force of a large truck.

Semi’s for example can weigh as much as 30 times more than a passenger car, clocking in at over 10,000 pounds without their load. The heavier the truck, the more difficult it is to maneuver due to it’s high center of gravity. In order to limit the risk of tipping on curved portions of the road such as ramps or roundabouts, a truck’s load must be evenly balanced.

Additionally, single-trailer trucks are often easier to handle than those with multiple trailers as each connection point increases the instability of the truck. Semi-truck accidents can occur for a variety of reasons including abrupt braking, poor vehicle maintenance, hazardous road conditions, or as a result of the truck jackknifing, overturning, and or encroaching on a lane. When a passenger vehicle goes partially or wholly under the truck or trailer, this is known as an underride crash.

The Dangers of Truck Driving

Commercial truck driving is commonly known as one of the most dangerous jobs. Because of their many blind spots and heavy loads, it’s essential for truck drivers to take extra precautions when passing or stopping around other vehicles. Even under good weather conditions, and with regular vehicle safety inspections, a loaded tractor-trailer can take up to 20-40% longer than a car to stop.

Despite payment models encouraging long hours, commercial truck drivers must follow regulations limiting the amount of hours spent on the road in any given time period. In order to prevent driver fatigue related accidents, drivers are also required by the U.S. Department of Transportation to electronically log their hours of driving. Truck drivers behind the wheel for more than eight hours are twice as likely to crash.

The following semi truck accident fatality data is from the U.S. Department of Transportation:

  • In 2017, 11% of all deaths resulting from a motor vehicle crash involved a large truck.
  • A total of 4,102 people died in large truck crashes in 2017.
  • Of these 4,102 deaths, 17% were truck occupants, 68% were occupants of cars or other passenger vehicles, and 14% were pedestrians, bicyclists or motorcyclists.
  • 66% of the truck occupants killed had a collision with another large truck.
  • 51% of the fatally injured large truck drivers were using seat belts, compared to 49% of the fatally injured passenger vehicle drivers.
  • 52% of deaths in large truck crashes in 2017 occurred on major roads other than interstates and freeways, 32% occurred on interstates and freeways, and 15% occurred on minor roads.
  • The highest amount of deaths involving a large truck crash in 2017 occurred from Noon to 3pm and 84% took place on a weekday.

If you or a loved one has been in a truck accident, contact a truck accident lawyer at the Cooper and Friedman Law Firm. We have over 45 combined years of experience successfully handling personal injury cases including truck accidents and have successfully recovered millions of dollars for seriously injured people. For more information, including a free case consult, give us a call now at 502-459-7555 to speak with a truck accident lawyer.

Posted Under: Car Accidents, Product Liability, Truck Accidents

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