American Indian Owned Law Firm

The growing hazard on our roads: truck-related crashes are up

On Behalf of | May 14, 2024 | Personal Injury

Large trucks are vital to how goods move around the United States, keeping our stores stocked and our economy humming. However, they also pose a serious risk to our highways. Despite their importance, these massive vehicles, defined as weighing more than 10,000 pounds, contribute to a worrying number of road accidents and deaths, not just in Oklahoma but across the country.

The National Safety Council (NSC) ‘s analysis of current data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveals some alarming statistics regarding large trucks’ effect on road safety.

Fatalities are up

The number of fatalities has risen. The year 2021 witnessed the involvement of 5,788 large trucks in deadly collisions, which is an 17% escalation from the preceding year and a substantial 47% surge from 2010 to 2020. Moreover, the frequency of such incidents per 100 million miles traveled by large trucks increased by 7% from 2020, with a notable 22% rise over the last decade.

When these behemoths of the road are involved in crashes, it’s often not the truck drivers who suffer the most. In fact, 72% of those who died were in other vehicles, 11% were pedestrians, and 17% were truck occupants.

Crash statistics also up

Not only did fatalities go up, but injuries did, too. Crashes with injuries involving large trucks jumped by 12% from 2020 to 2021. In 2021, there was a recorded involvement of 117,300 large trucks in accidents that led to injuries, which is a 12% rise compared to the figures from 2020. Looking at the trend since 2016, there has been a 15% uptick in the number of large trucks involved in crashes that resulted in injuries. Additionally, the rate of involvement per 100 million miles driven by large trucks has gone up by three percentage points, reaching 36%.

Injury toll also up

In 2021, the number of individuals injured in accidents that included large trucks reached 155,000, which represents a 5% growth from the year before. In alignment with fatality statistics, the majority of these injuries were sustained by individuals in other vehicles, accounting for 71%, with truck occupants comprising 27% of the injuries. Non-occupants like pedestrians and bicyclists made up 2% of the injuries.

Other noteworthy statistics

Additional important statistics from the data indicate some unexpected insights. Over half of the fatal collisions involving large trucks took place on rural roadways, and roughly one-fourth happened on interstate highways. Daylight hours saw 63% of these accidents occur. A small percentage, 6%, took place in areas of road construction. The month of September saw the highest number of deadly truck accidents, with the summertime also showing a higher frequency of such incidents. Conversely, February experienced the lowest number of truck crashes.

It is time for a change

These statistics are a wake-up call, highlighting the urgent need for better safety measures and stricter regulations to prevent these tragic accidents. It’s already too late for those affected, but there’s still hope for the future. Change can save lives and reduce the number of families impacted by these devastating events.