Truck accidents often result in devastating injuries and a higher number of deaths compared to a typical car crash due to their size and mass. An 18-wheeler can weigh up to 80,000 pounds – around 20 times larger than an average passenger vehicle which makes it more difficult to maneuver or stop.
At their size, it’s easy to see how trucking accidents can lead to catastrophic injuries and deaths. However, understanding the details surrounding these accidents might give truck drivers an idea of how to be more responsible and alert on the job.
In 2017, there were 4,102 people killed in large truck crashes. 17 percent of the fatalities were either the truck driver or the passenger, 68 percent were occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles. The remaining 14 percent were pedestrians, bicyclists or motorcyclists.
While the percentage of passenger vehicle occupant deaths in large truck crashes has steadily decreased since 1980, the number of fatal truck crashes had increased by 47 percent since 2009 when it was the lowest it has been since the collection of fatal crash data began in 1975.
52 percent of fatal truck accidents in 2017 occurred on a major road other than any road type. 32 percent occurred on interstates and freeways, and 15 percent on minor roads.
Most fatal crashes occur during the weekends due to a high incidence of alcohol use.
However, truck accidents are more common during the weekdays when cargo transportation is the highest. 18 percent of deaths due to fatal crashes involving trucks have occurred on Thursdays.
19 percent of deaths caused by trucks are also more common from noon to 3 p.m. since trucks tend to travel at higher speeds midday compared to during heavy traffic hours when speed is prohibited by heavy congestion.