Of the different types of vehicles that can get into motor vehicle accidents, large trucks are some of the most terrifying automobiles to be involved in any crash. Their size and weight mean any collision they cause will result in damages and injuries.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 8.9% of all vehicles involved in fatal crashes in 2020 were large trucks. In that same year, the National Safety Council also found that in large truck collisions, 67.7% of injuries sustained in large truck collisions were suffered by other vehicle occupants.
If large trucks require specialized training and licensing to operate, why do they still cause crashes? Truck drivers are human, just like the rest of us, and can also make mistakes, but is there a science behind truck collision risks?
Factors in large truck crashes
There are many factors why large trucks could get into accidents, but the most notable ones include the following:
- Braking: Because of their size and weight, the stopping distance of trucks is significantly longer than passenger cars. When road traction becomes poor, such as when it rains or snows, their stopping distance increases even more.
- Defective truck equipment: Another study by researchers from the Transportation Research Institute of the University of Michigan found that among truck crashes over a three-year period, 55% of cases had at least one mechanical violation, while another 30% had at least one condition that was severe enough to have experts declare the truck unfit for travel. The most common equipment violations found by researchers include issues with brakes (36%) and lighting (19%).
- Truck driver fatigue: Like any driver, sleep deprivation and stress can hamper a truck driver’s reactions and attention, leading to an accident. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that truck drivers who have been on the road for over eight hours are twice as likely to crash.
Large trucks can cause accidents, just like any other automobile. But several factors can make a collision with trucks more likely – and more dangerous. After a serious truck collision, it is crucial that you speak with a personal injury attorney who can provide guidance you need regarding your injuries, lost wages and property damage. Don’t hesitate to take steps to protect yourself.