If you’ve ever felt nervous or uncomfortable while driving next to a big semi-truck or tractor-trailer, you’re not alone. Due to their size and weight, big trucks are an imposing figure on highways and interstates. Their presence can be intimidating when lanes narrow, roadways twist and turn, and speed limits reach 70 mph. Because passenger vehicles weigh around 4,000 pounds, it’s natural for drivers and passengers to feel uneasy when driving next to vehicles that can weigh up to 80,000 pounds.
Being well-informed of the risks of truck accidents and how to stay safe when driving near them is one of the best ways to avoid being involved in a serious semi-truck or tractor-trailer accident. At Matt Hardin Law, our Nashville truck accident attorneys have assisted injured truck crash victims for many years, and during that time, we’ve discovered some facts that we think all drivers should know about these oversized vehicles and their impacts on roadways in Tennessee and throughout the country.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is a governmental organization that oversees all interstate and highway programs and safety issues in the country. The NHTSA published its research on 2014 truck accidents in May 2016. The information that the NHTSA’s research revealed can be helpful for drivers, as it shows both the risks drivers and passengers face as well as ways they can make themselves safer on highways and interstates.
Some vital facts all drivers should know about truck accidents include:
To put those numbers into perspective, a total of 438,000 large trucks were reported to have been involved in accidents in 2014. That means about 1 percent of truck accidents result in a fatality, but more than 25 percent of truck accidents result in someone suffering injuries.
Because commercial trucks are so much bigger than standard passenger vehicles, both drivers and passengers are at much higher risk of suffering serious and fatal injuries than truck drivers. The NHTSA found that truck drivers accounted for only 17 percent of fatalities during accidents that involved big trucks.
The rate of serious injuries compared to fatalities during truck accidents is nearly the same for occupants of passenger vehicles. However, truck drivers are slightly more likely to be injured during accidents, with 23 percent of injuries involving truck drivers.
The statistics show that when someone is killed in a large truck accident, it’s likely to be an accident that involves another vehicle. However, only 59 percent of fatal passenger vehicle accidents involve another vehicle.
Head-on collisions are among the most dangerous and deadly type of accidents that can occur. When that risk factor is combined with the already high risk factors associated with big truck accidents, the results are often disastrous for occupants of passenger vehicles.
Although many drivers frequently encounter big trucks on high-speed highways and interstates, they are most risk of being involved in fatal accidents with these large vehicles in rural areas. Only 25 percent of fatal truck accidents occur on interstates, and 95 percent occur outside of designated work zones.
Trucks are on Tennessee’s highways and interstates at all hours of the day and night, but the vast majority of fatal truck accidents occur during daylight hours.
By knowing these statistics, drivers can better understand the risks they face when they drive near large trucks. Although truck drivers face risks when they’re involved in accidents with other vehicles, the drivers and passengers in the other vehicles are much more likely to suffer serious or fatal injuries. In addition, truck accidents often occur at times and places when drivers may least expect them—including on rural roads and during daylight hours.
At Matt Hardin Law, our Nashville truck accident attorneys know that the best way to protect yourself from being involved in a collision with a big truck is to always drive cautiously and safely, regardless of where you are or the time of day. However, we also know that truck driver negligence contributes to many accidents, and that’s a factor that you simply can’t control.
If you or someone you know was injured in a truck accident caused by a negligent truck company or driver, we want to help you get the compensation you deserve. Your injuries may leave you unable to work for weeks or even months at time, and it’s our goal to get you the money you need to move forward with your life. Just dial (615) 200-1111 or complete a free online consultation form to speak with our legal team today.