Severity of Truck Crashes – Factors


Commerce in the United States depends on the hauling and carrying done by the trucking industry, but safety issues are a concern given the severity of highway accidents and truck crashes.  Crashes involving trucks account for over 4,000 deaths annually in the U.S.  Each crash causes significant loss of productivity, as well as damage to property and in some cases, personal injury or death.  A recent study found that while trucks represent 8% of vehicles on the highway in the U.S., they are parties to 11% of crashes resulting in fatalities.

Another study found that the percentage of truck volume on the highway was related to the severity of the crash, even if there was less traffic overall.  If there was a higher percentage of truck traffic, the risk of a fatal accident increased.  The study found that the increase in truck volume amounted to an increase in crash severity to a degree out of proportion with the volume increase.  Not surprisingly, speed was also found to be a factor in crash severity.  Speed over 45 mph resulted in a doubled risk of a collision involving a fatality.

Substance abuse resulting in impaired driving delivered an almost 7 times increase in fatal incidents.  Male drivers showed a high incident of fatal collisions.  Long combination trucks were the highest risk of a severe collision because of the limited visibility on the driver’s right side view.  More fatal incidents occurred when a truck was moving forward, whereas property-damage only incidents were more likely when truck drivers were completing a maneuver, such as a complicated turn.

Also not surprisingly, inclement weather increased the risks of a fatal incident, with slippery conditions like snow and ice fully doubling the risk.  Weather was the only environmental condition within the study that contributed to an increase.

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Trucking Injury Attorney with the primary accident information site on the web,

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