Most deaths in large truck crashes are to people in passenger vehicles, due to the vulnerability of people in smaller vehicles. Trucks often weigh 20-30 times as much as passenger cars and are taller (with greater ground clearance), which can result in smaller vehicles under riding trucks in crashes.
Truck braking capability can be a big factor in truck crashes. Loaded tractor-trailers take 20-40 percent farther than cars to stop, and the discrepancy is greater on wet and slippery roads or with poorly maintained brakes. Truck driver fatigue also is a known crash risk. Drivers of large trucks are allowed by federal hours-of-service regulations to drive up to 11 hours at a stretch and up to 77 hours over a seven-day period. Surveys indicate that many drivers violate the regulations and work longer than permitted. 1
A total of 3,514 people died in large truck crashes in 2012. Seventeen percent of these deaths were truck occupants, 67 percent were occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles, and 15 percent were pedestrians, bicyclists or motorcyclists. The number of people who died in large truck crashes was 12 percent higher in 2012 than in 2009, when it was lower than at any year since the collection of fatal crash data began in 1975. The number of truck occupants who died was 32 percent higher than in 2009. Since 1979, when deaths in large truck crashes were at an all time high, there has been a greater percentage decline am
Anyone drive on the highway lately? The largest trucks on the road also seem to be the “bullies” of the highway. Some are downright scary. What to do?
- Keep your distance;
- If you decide to pass, always keep your eye on the truck you are passing (they often like to change lanes without notice);
- If coming to a slowdown on the highway, keep an eye out for big trucks behind you.
There may be little you can do to avoid all accidents, but maintaining a keen awareness of other vehicle on the road—especially trucks on the highway, can certainly minimize your risks of being in an accident.