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Where, when and why do major truck crashes happen?

When you think of a crash involving an 18-wheeler, you probably envision a freeway setting; after all, big rigs seem to surround you when you are driving on the interstate.

It might surprise you to learn how often truck accidents occur on quiet country roads, when they are most likely to happen and what factors cause these large vehicles to crash.

A mixed bag of numbers

According to figures compiled by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, injury crashes across the U.S. involving buses or large trucks declined from 2005 to 2009 by 33 percent. However, there was a 62 percent increase from 2009 to 2015. When you break the numbers down, it reveals that although the number of big truck crash fatalities rose by 8 percent from 2014 to 2015, truck crashes only leading to injuries went from 88,000 to 87,000, a decrease of 1 percent.

When and where the truck crashes happened

In 2015, there were 415,000 reports of large truck crashes from law enforcement officials across the country. Some of these were single-vehicle accidents, which included a non-motorized vehicle such as a bicycle or a pedestrian. However, the majority of the crashes, 64 percent, involved two vehicles. The FMCSA data shows that 21 percent of all injury crashes and 35 percent of all crashes resulting in fatalities occurred between 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., and that the highest percentage of all fatal crashes took place between Monday and Friday when most big rigs transporting cargo are on the road. Interestingly, about 60 percent of these fatal crashes happened on rural roads and only 25 percent on interstate highways.

The causes

A personal injury attorney experienced with handling truck-car accident cases will tell you that professional truckers work long hours. There are many distractions, and fatigue can easily cause a driver to become drowsy. Trucks have component parts that sometimes fail. Overloading is also a dangerous practice because if the cargo is off balance or shifts, the driver can lose control of the truck. You never want to be the victim of a truck crash, but FMCSA data shows how often such accidents happen. Although you must share the road with 18-wheelers, staying alert around them will help you avoid becoming a statistic.


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