Definition: 18-wheeler is a trucking rig that consists of a truck and trailer which typically has 18 wheels. That’s a huge vehicle right there.
Because of its massive size, whenever an 18-wheeler is involved in a road accident, you can’t call it a simple “fender bender.” In fact, the impact is usually so devastating that it results in tremendous damage and even the deaths of those involved.
The U.S. Department of Transportation, the National Center of Statistics and Analysis, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regularly gather information and data about large trucking accidents. From a Houston 18 wheeler truck accident lawyer, here are 15 of the most frightening trucking accident statistics:
- Out of roughly 457,000 large truck crashes reported to the police in 2016, 0.8% (3,864) were fatal, while 22% (104,000) resulted in serious injuries.
- Fatal crashes involving large trucks tend to take place on Interstate highways or in rural areas. Almost 61% of fatal accidents happen in a rural area, while 27% take place on Interstate highways, and 15% fall under both categories.
- 37% of fatal crashes, 23% of injury crashes, and 20% of property damage crashes involving 18-wheeler trucks take place at night, specifically between 6 PM and 6 AM.
- Most large truck crashes (84% fatal and 88% non-fatal) will happen Monday through Friday.
- There are 12 fatal crashes per one million people in the United States.
- Rollover is the primary cause of death in 5% of large truck crashes.
- About 4% of the 18-wheelers involved in fatal accidents transport dangerous chemicals. Most of them carry flammable liquids such as gasoline and oil.
- 73% of fatal crashes involving 18-wheelers take place because of another vehicle, person, animal or objects in the truck’s lane or encroaching into it. Another 23% of fatal crashes take place because the driver loses control of the vehicle.
- 6% of drivers in fatal truck accidents are 25 or younger, while another 6% are reportedly 60 or older.
- 13% of truck drivers involved in an accident do not wear a safety belt, and of all 43% are killed in the crash.
- 32% of accidents involving 18-wheelers are caused by the driver, while 55% are caused by the passenger vehicle.
- One of the most common factors of large truck crashes includes speeding, distractions, and impairment (alcohol, illness, or fatigue).
- 16% of large truck drivers involved in fatal crashes have at least one prior speeding conviction, almost the same percentage as passenger car drivers involved in a deadly accident. However, they are also less likely to have previous license suspension or revocations than passenger car drivers.
- 45% of two-vehicle fatal large truck crashes happen because both vehicles are going straight towards each other. In 10% of accidents, one car is turning left or right, 9% of accidents take place on a curve, and in 7% of cases, either the truck or the other vehicle stops in a traffic lane.
- 8.3% of nationwide vehicle crashes involve large trucks.
Making Sense of the Numbers
It’s easy to let these statistics give you nightmares every time you go to sleep. The data collected by these institutions paint a relatively grim portrait of the life of a truck on the road. However, there are some important conclusions to point out:
- Large vehicles aren’t necessarily more likely to be involved in a car crash. However, when they are, they are more likely to be fatal to those involved;
- Most large truck collisions take place because of another vehicle entering the truck’s lane.
The good news is that large truck accident trends have reached a record low, due to new restrictions and rules put in place by states to ensure a safer road for everyone. From 2005 up until 2016, the number of 18-wheelers accidents lowered by nearly 15% thanks to new speed restrictions.