The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a report in February of 2017, detailing recent traffic safety facts for large trucks. For the purposes of this report, a large truck was defined as a medium or heavy truck with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) over 10,000 pounds. While 10,000 was the minimum weight required to qualify, it is interesting to note, in 2015, over 85 % of the large trucks involved in fatal truck accidents weighed in at greater than 26,000 pounds.
Truck Accidents Injure and Kill Car Drivers and Passengers
In 2014, over 4,000 people were killed, and over 116,000 were injured in large truck accidents. This reflects a 4 % increase over truck accident fatalities and injuries in 2014. 74 percent of those killed in large truck accidents were occupants of other vehicles. An additional 10 percent were pedestrians, bicyclists, and others who were not in a vehicle of any kind. Only 16 percent of truck fatalities in 2015 were occupants of the large trucks themselves. Similarly, 73 percent of those injured were occupants of other vehicles, and 4 percent were not occupants of any vehicle.
Truck Accidents Result in More Fatalities
The NHTSA reports trucks were far more likely to be involved in fatal crashes involving another vehicle than crashes between passenger vehicles. 82 percent of fatal crashes with large trucks involved multiple vehicles. Only 61 percent of passenger vehicle crashes involved multiple vehicle accidents.
Truck Accidents Happen Everywhere
27 percent of truck crash fatalities happen on the interstate. Most fatal truck crashes occur in rural areas, where 63 percent of all fatalities occur. Interestingly, only 5 percent of fatal crashes occur in designated work zones.
Most truck accidents happen during the week, at 78 percent. Of those accidents, almost 3/4ths (73 percent) happened between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Truck Accident Fatalities – Rarely Alcohol Related
Surprisingly, on 2 percent of all fatal truck crashes involved a driver with an alcohol concentration over the legal limit. Contrast this with drivers of other types of vehicles, where 27 percent of motorcycles, 21 percent of passenger cars, and 20 percent of light truck drivers had a blood alcohol concentration greater than the legal limit of .08.
Louisiana Truck Accident Fatalities
In 2015, 1005 vehicles were involved in fatal crashes in Louisiana. Of those, 71 crashes involved large trucks. This reflects 7.1 percent of all the vehicles in Louisiana. It also represents 1.8 percent of all the large truck fatalities in the United States.
In Louisiana in 2015, two truck occupants died in single vehicle crashes, and five truck occupants died in multiple vehicle accidents. Contrast this with the much higher number, 64, the number of occupants of other vehicles who died in Louisiana truck accidents. Additionally, six nonoccupants also died.
Truck Drivers Have Enormous Blind Spots
Trucks have blind spots on both sides, as well as in front of and behind the vehicle. This includes 20 feet in front of the truck, 30 feet behind the truck, nearly the entire length of the truck from the back of the driver’s door to nearly the end of the trailer on the left, and two lanes of traffic to the right from the front to the rear of the truck.
Trucks Need More Room
Whether you favor the Willis Brothers, Box Car Willie, or the Red Simpson version, if you’re familiar with the song, “Give me 40 Acres,” you know that trucks are different. They require more space to maneuver than smaller vehicles. This is not just true for turning the rig around, but also for stopping. Trucks require more time to stop. Consequently, drivers should be particularly cautious about changing lanes in front of large trucks.
Truck Accidents Hurt and Kill
If you have been injured, or if you lost a loved one due to a truck accident, contact the 18-Wheeler accident lawyers at the Joubert Law Firm at 225-761-3822.