Driving alongside a truck can be unnerving for even the most competent drivers. But with 15.5 million trucks on US roads, it’s vital that we get used to sharing our highways with these imposing vehicles.
Not least because the trucking industry is the lifeblood of our economy. In the US, trucks transport 70 percent of all freight. This accounts for $671 billion of goods transported by truck each year.
As the number of trucks on our roadways increases, truck driver accident rates have also increased. Truck accidents account for a small percentage of road accidents. But truck accident statistics show that these crashes are far more likely to result in fatalities and devastating injuries.
Here are some surprising statistics and facts related to truck driving accidents that you should keep in mind next time you hit the road.
The Truck Accident Statistics Every Driver Should Know
Truck driving is one of the most dangerous professions in the world. This is hardly surprising when you consider that truck drivers operate vehicles weighing tens of thousands of pounds.
Truck drivers also cover an increasing amount of highway miles each year and have high productivity targets. And, unlike many professions, truck drivers don’t have complete control of their working environment — the nation’s public roads.
That said, it’s often those in other vehicles that are most at risk of serious injury following a trucking collision. If you’re involved in a trucking accident, it’s vital to consult expert law office attorneys with specific truck accident experience and knowledge.
Because, as the following statistics will show you, there are some surprising trends when it comes to trucking accidents:
1. High Death Toll of Trucking Accidents
Only 2.4 percent of all road accidents involve trucks according to commercial truck accident statistics. But trucks are three times more likely to be in an accident than a regular motor vehicle. Estimates by the United States Department of Transportation put the number of truck accidents at over 500,000 per year.
Around 5,000 people die each year as a result of trucking accidents. That may not seem many in comparison to the 90 deaths per day as a result of all road accidents. But statistics show that someone is killed or injured in a truck accident every 16 minutes.
But consider this. Trucks only account for 4.3 percent of all highway vehicles and just 10 percent of total highway miles traveled. So, you’d be right to drive extra safe when you’re anywhere near a truck.
2. Passenger Vehicle Drivers are Often Responsible for Truck Driving Accidents
It might not come as much of a surprise that, in a collision between a truck and a passenger car, people in the passenger car often come off worse.
The truck driver dies in around 15 percent of these kinds of collisions. But the driver of the other vehicle will die in a shocking 98 percent of vehicle collisions involving at least one truck.
This stands to reason when you consider how trucks can weigh 20 to 30 times as much as a passenger vehicle. They’re also taller and have greater ground clearance.
Although, what might surprise you is that in at least 75 percent of truck accidents, the passenger car driver is to blame. And some statistics estimate that the figure is as high as 81 percent. Truck drivers, in comparison, are at fault in only 16 percent of truck accidents.
3. The Danger of Tractor-Trailers
When talking about trucks we’re referring to coal trucks, 18-wheelers, cement trucks, and similar-sized heavy-duty vehicles.
But, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, tractor-trailers, also called semi-trailers, are involved in the majority of truck collisions. Although statistics vary across sources, estimates suggest that as many as 77 percent of truck accidents involve tractor-trailers.
And, since there are around 2.8 million tractor-trailers on the road, the odds suggest that tractor-trailers are among the most dangerous vehicles on the road.
4. The Most Dangerous Day and Time for Trucking Accidents
While Saturday is the most dangerous day to drive, when it comes to commercial truck accident statistics, most fatal accidents occur on weekdays. Thursday tends to be the day with the most fatal accidents reported. In comparison, the fewest number of fatal trucking accidents occur on Sundays.
What might surprise you, however, is that fatal crashes don’t coincide with typical rush hours at the beginning and end of the working day. In fact, fatal accidents are more likely when there are fewer vehicles on the road. Most fatal trucking accidents occur between the hours of 11 am and 4 pm, with fatal crashes peaking around 1 pm.
5. Most Trucking Accidents Occur in Clear Weather
Not following the appropriate rules for driving in adverse weather conditions plays a major role in fatal road accidents every year. But how do weather conditions contribute to truck driver accidents?
You might assume that rain and snow could be to blame for a large percentage of truck driving accidents. But, truck accident statistics show that the vast majority of truck crashes occur during clear weather.
What’s the reason for this counterintuitive statistic? For the same reason that there are fewer road accidents when it’s snowing — a lot of people stay at home during periods of heavy snowfall. And, if drivers do venture out, they often drive slower under increment weather.
Top Truck Driver Accident Facts to Remember
As these truck accident statistics show, there are some surprising facts behind the often devastating trucking accidents occurring on our highways every day.
But, as all drivers need to be aware, it’s often other vehicles that are to blame for these collisions. So, next time you’re out on the road, remember to give trucks the space they need and always drive with caution.