The number of trucks on the road increased in 2016 to 11.5 million from 11.2 million in 2015, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). As such, it makes sense that the number of accidents, particularly those including fatalities, also increased. In the report “2016 Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts,” published by FMCSA, the number of fatalities rose by three percent. While the report was written in 2016, the FMCSA waited until May 2018 to publish their findings to ensure better accuracy.
The total number of trucks involved in fatal crashes rose from 4,074 in 2015 to 4,213 in 2016. And the number of fatalities increased as well. While there were 4,094 fatalities in large truck crashes in 2015, that number rose to 4,317 in 2016. Truck crashes can be much more fatal than accidents involving passenger vehicles, due to the size and weight of large trucks. The FMCSA considers large trucks to be those with a gross vehicle weight of 10,000 pounds or more.
In the past, it has most often been the large truck involved in an accident that was the at-fault vehicle. But the FMCSA report also showed that a surprising majority, 73 percent, of fatal accidents involving large trucks in 2016 were caused by other factors such as another vehicle, person, or animal or object within the truck’s lane.
This just shows how important it is for drivers to be careful on the roads, particularly when around large trucks. Drivers should never speed, especially around trucks, and always give them plenty of room. Drivers also need to remember that all trucks have large blind spots on each side, including the front and the rear of the truck. Knowing about these ‘no zones’ and keeping clear of them can help reduce the number of fatalities.
And that does not only include the fatalities for those in passenger vehicles. According to the FMCSA report, the number of fatalities for occupants in large trucks also increased in 2016 to 722 from 665 in 2015.
While all drivers should always stay safe on the roads, particularly when encountering a large truck, drivers in rural areas and on interstates may be most at risk. According to the new report, 61 percent of crashes involving fatalities and large trucks were in rural areas, while 27 percent of accidents took place on interstate highways.
Personal injury attorney Larry Nussbaum of Nussbaum Law Group, P.C. graduated from Suffolk Law School earning his Juris Doctor. Attorney Nussbaum has tirelessly fought for victims of car accidents, truck accidents, and more. He can be found on LinkedIn and Yelp.