The Where and When of Fatal Truck Accidents and 18-Wheeler Crashes
Truck accident deaths hit their highest level in 29 years during 2017, even as the nationwide traffic fatality rate declined overall.
Most of these deadly collisions occurred along major highways, and more often than not, they claimed the lives of those traveling in much smaller passenger vehicles.
As one of the nation’s Top Truck Accident Lawyers, Ryan Zehl has successfully represented thousands of victims and families after devastating 18-wheeler crashes and other trucking-related accidents.
Large Truck Crashes Caused 11% of All Highway Deaths in 2017
Just over 37,130 people died in highway crashes throughout the United States during 2017. While that number is still far too high, it does represent a 2% decrease from the prior year.
Roughly 11% of the deaths involved at least one 18-wheeler or other big truck. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a total of 4,102 people died in connection with trucking-related crashes in 2017, up from 3,986 in 2016.
Most Truck Accident Fatalities Involve Passenger Vehicle Occupants
Passenger vehicle occupants are especially vulnerable during a truck crash.
18-wheelers and other big rigs generally weigh 20-30 times more than a passenger car. Because they’re taller and have more ground clearance, smaller vehicles can underride during a crash.
Large trucks also take much more time to brake, especially on wet or slippery roads.
In light of these factors, it’s not at all surprising that passenger vehicle occupants accounted for 68% of all truck crash deaths in 2017. Truck occupants made up just 17%, while pedestrians, bicyclists or motorcyclists accounted for the remaining 14%.
Passenger vehicle occupants fare even worse when a two-vehicle accident involves a big rig, and accounted for 97% of those fatalities in 2017.
Daylight Hours and Weekdays See Most Truck Crash Deaths
Nearly 1,300 of the truck accident deaths reported during 2017 occurred along the nation’s freeways or interstates, while other major highways accounted for over 2,100 fatalities.
The remaining 616 deaths occurred along minor roadways.
Truck crash fatalities were most common on weekdays and during daylight hours. In fact, nearly half of the deaths (1,999) occurred between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., while nearly 80% occurred during the week.
At least 745 people died on Thursdays, more than any other day. With fewer than 700 deaths combined, Saturdays and Sundays appeared relatively safe in comparison.
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