The Reality of Large Truck-Passenger Vehicle Fatal Accident Statistics

red truck

Do you know how much the average car weighs? What about the average semi-truck? If you don’t, perhaps you should. The insurance industry certainly does.

Depending upon the make and model, a typical passenger car weighs between one and three tons. An average semi-truck (with a full trailer) weighs in at 40,000 tons.

Statistics Don’t Lie

According to information compiled by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Highway Loss Data Institute, if there is a fatality in a large truck crash, the victim is most likely to be the occupant of a passenger vehicle. The Institute has tracked deaths in large truck accidents for several decades, making note of the number of deaths of large truck occupants, as well as motorcyclists, bicyclists, pedestrians, and passenger vehicle occupants. The relative percentages of the deaths of people in these categories have remained fairly constant over the years.

Since 1975, the highest percentage of truck occupant deaths was 22%, and the lowest was 12%. For 2014, it was 16%. For motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians, the percentage of fatalities has ranged from 9% to 16%, with the figure for 2014 being 15%. That means that the percentage of passenger vehicle occupants counted among large truck fatalities has ranged from 66% to 76% (68% in 2014).

While certainly indicative of the fact that most truck accident deaths consist of passenger car occupants, these figures don’t tell the whole story because some of these deaths did not involve passenger cars. The Institute makes specific note of the fact that, when there are two vehicles involved in a fatal crash, the person killed was an occupant of a passenger vehicle some 97% of the time (in 2014). In plain numbers, that means that, in 2014 (the most recent year for which data is available on the Institute’s website), 1,966 of the 2,026 deaths in two-vehicle big truck wrecks consisted of people traveling in the smaller, much more vulnerable passenger vehicle.

What Can be Done to Avoid a Tragic Accident with a Large Truck

While the Institute’s data does not specify the particular makes or models of the passenger vehicles involved in the fatal accidents for which it keeps statistics, one may assume that, the smaller and lighter the passenger vehicle, the more vulnerable its occupants are. Thus, driving a larger, heavier vehicle with more safety features may help to increase the chances of survival in a large truck-passenger car collision, although it is certainly no guarantee.

Keeping a close watch for truckers who may be drifting across the line due to fatigue or distracted driving can also reduce the chances of an accident. Also, passenger car drivers should always give big trucks plenty of room to negotiate lane changes or reduce their speed before a traffic light or an interstate slow down. It’s not just a cliche that these big rigs “can’t stop on a dime.”

If You or a Loved One Has Been in a North Carolina Truck Accident

To have a chance at fair compensation later, it really helps to be represented as early as possible in the process. The insurance industry is well-versed in litigation arising from truck crashes, and they will have someone on the case from the moment they get the call that an accident has occurred. North Carolina truck accident attorney Carl Nagle at Nagle & Associates helps truck accident victims across the state seek maximum payment for injuries and wrongful deaths resulting from the negligence of truckers and trucking companies. For a free case evaluation, call us at (888) 841-7177. Our convenient contingency fee arrangement means you don’t have to pay any legal fees upfront to get your case started because we don’t get paid until your case is settled or a judgment is entered in your favor.

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