Trucking Accidents By the Numbers

Plus, a few simple reminders about how to share the road with large trucks.

America’s trucking industry is the lifeblood of the U.S. economy—did you know that trucking moves roughly 70% of all freight in the U.S? That’s a lot of big trucks on our roadways…

While the vast majority of truck drivers practice safe driving habits, a semi-truck accident can be far more dangerous than an accident between two smaller vehicles. In 2018, 4,136 people died in large truck crashes, and more than 60% of these fatalities involved occupants in the smaller vehicle.

Trucks often weigh 20 to 30 times as much as passenger cars, and with higher ground clearance it’s possible for smaller vehicles to drive/slide under a large truck (called underriding), a dangerous collision known to shear the roof off passenger vehicles.

According to the most recent data, 52% of deaths in large truck crashes occurred on major roads other than interstates and freeways; and 50% of large truck crash deaths occurred from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. (i.e., during daylight hours).

By the numbers, trucking accidents can paint a bleak picture of this nearly $800 billion industry. Fortunately, some large truck accidents can be avoided just by remembering a few simple tips:

  1. Give large trucks more room. Large trucks need additional space between vehicles to allow for safe braking and unexpected maneuvers. At 55 MPH it can take a heavy truck about 390 feet to stop in good driving conditions—that’s about 4 seconds.
  2. Avoid driving in their blind spots. The passenger side of a large truck has more blind spots than the driver’s side. Avoid passing large trucks on the right, always try to pass on the left. A good tip: if you can’t see the truck driver’s face, he can’t see you.
  3. Be patient with delivery trucks. Don’t try to pass a large delivery truck that’s trying to back up to a driveway or parking lot. Be mindful of the situation, stop and leave a lot of room for the truck to make its destination.

The numbers don’t lie. Learning more about large trucks and utilizing these defensive driving techniques is the best way to protect yourself and your family.

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