Every year, trucking accidents cause thousands of fatalities. Fatal truck accidents are one of the most common and severe types of accidents that a vehicle can be involved in, and for a number of reasons. Trucking accidents make up over 10 percent of all traffic fatalities, a disproportionate number considering how few actual events there are in comparison to other traffic accidents. Based on data collected in crash studies, the safety organizations involved understand many of the main reasons behind fatal truck accidents, and the factors that contribute to accident severity.
Vehicle Size and Weight
Naturally, because big trucks are larger and heavier than most other vehicles on the road, they are capable of doing a lot more damage when an accident occurs. Due to the laws of physics, smaller and lighter passenger vehicles will undoubtedly be more affected in trucking accidents than the trucks themselves. Yet the type and size of the passenger vehicle also makes a difference in the outcome of an accident. Those traveling in smaller passenger vehicles are more likely to suffer more extensive damage than those in SUVs and heavier pickup trucks.
Vehicle Speed at Impact
The faster a truck is traveling when it collides with another vehicle, the greater the impact and the damages that result due to that impact. A high rate of speed has been proven to be a main factor in serious trucking accidents in a variety of ways. Not only can the speed at which the truck is traveling affect accident severity, but the speed at which any vehicles that are hit are traveling can also have an effect. The higher the speed, the more likely a smaller vehicle might spin out of control, or be pushed by the truck. Generally speaking, the faster vehicles are moving, the greater the chance of fatalities.
Road and Traffic Conditions At the Time of Impact
Another factor in fatal truck accidents is what happens when impact occurs. Cars can be pushed into other vehicles, down embankments, and even into oncoming lanes of traffic. Therefore, roadway conditions and their makeup can contribute to the severity of trucking accidents, increasing the chance of deaths.
Truck Cargo and Its Containment
One other factor to blame for some fatalities in trucking accidents is the cargo that is carried on the trucks. It is not uncommon for cargo that has not been properly secured to fall off the truck, which can cause a deadly accident as a result. Even when cargo is properly contained, truck trailers that are damaged in an accident can cause it contents to spill onto the roadway and onto nearby vehicles, causing extreme damage and casualties.
Vehicle Safety Devices
In most traffic accidents, including trucking accidents, the presence of vehicle safety devices such as seat belts, airbags, and frames, designed to absorb impacts and protect vehicle occupants, have long been proven to reduce fatalities. These devices become even more important when accidents involve heavy trucks.
Considering these important findings, there are many ways that passenger vehicle drivers can try to be more safe and avoid severe injury, even if involved in trucking accidents. By avoiding speeding, using vehicle safety devices, and by riding in vehicles more likely to survive an impact with a big rig, the chance of survival in these events increases. Driving cautiously around big rigs to reduce the chance of being involved in an accident can also help. While there are many other factors that attribute to fatal truck accidents, these are at least some of the ways that drivers can attempt to protect themselves and avoid becoming another statistic!
Pearland, Pasadena, Webster, League City, Webster, Manvel, Alvin, Friendswood, La Marque, Texas City, and Galveston
Hildebrand & Wilson, LLP
Robert W. Hildebrand, Attorney at Law
J. Daniel Wilson, Attorney at Law
7830 Broadway, Suite 122
Pearland TX 77581
Phone: (281) 408-2190