The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently released 2008 traffic safety data concerning large trucks (vehicles weighing more than 10,000 pounds).
One out of nine traffic fatalities in 2008 resulted from a collision involving a large truck.
Last year, 380,000 large trucks were involved in traffic crashes in the U.S. In those crashes, 4,229 people died and an addition 90,000 people were injured. While large trucks account for approximately 4 percent of all registered vehicles, they accounted for 8 percent of all vehicles involved in fatal crashes in 2008.
For the fatalities that resulted from large truck crashes, 74 percent were occupants of another vehicle and 16 percent were occupants of a large truck (while 10 percent were non-occupants such as pedestrians). Typically, truck drivers and their occupants suffer fewer injuries during crashes with smaller vehicles because the trucks are so massive, which offers some degree of protection.
Of the 90,000 people injured in large truck wrecks, 71 percent were occupants of another vehicles, 26 percent were occupants of a large truck, and 3 percent were non-occupants.
Large trucks were much more likely to be involved in a fatal multiple-vehicle crash – as opposed to a fatal single-vehicle crash – than were passenger vehicles (82% of all large trucks involved in fatal crashes, compared with 58% of all passenger vehicles)
In 30 percent of the two-vehicle fatal crashes involving a large truck and another type of vehicle, both vehicles were impacted in the front. The truck was struck in the rear 3.2 times as often as the other vehicle (19% and 6%, respectively).
In 50 percent of the two-vehicle fatal crashes involving a large truck and another type of vehicle, both vehicles were proceeding straight at the time of the crash. In 9 percent of the crashes, the other vehicle was turning. In 9 percent, either the truck or the other vehicle was negotiating a curve. In 8 percent, either the truck or the other vehicle was stopped or parked in a traffic lane (6% and 2%, respectively).
Most of the fatal crashes involving large trucks occurred in rural areas (64%), during the daytime (67%), and on weekdays (80%).
During the week, 74 percent of the crashes occurred during the daytime (6 a.m. to 5:59 p.m.). On weekends, 63 percent occurred at night (6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m.)
While large trucks are more likely to be involved in fatal crashes, truck drivers are less likely to be drunk behind the wheel. The percentage of large-truck drivers involved in fatal crashes who had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 grams per deciliter (g/dL) or higher was 2 percent in 2008. For drivers of other types of vehicles involved in fatal crashes in 2008, the percentages of drivers with BAC levels .08 g/dL or higher were 23 percent for passenger cars, 23 percent for light trucks, and 29 percent for motorcycles.
Drivers of large trucks were less likely to have a previous license suspension or revocation than were passenger car drivers (7% and 15%, respectively).
In Georgia, large trucks were involved in 8.6 percent of the state’s 2,070 fatal crashes in 2008.
Each year, the number of registered large trucks increases, and the number of total miles traveled increases. Be especially careful around large trucks when you’re driving.
If you’ve you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a large truck crash, call attorney Michael Neff at 404-531-9700 to schedule a free consultation.