How dangerous are semi-trucks?

semi-truck

Most of us know someone who has been involved in a motor vehicle accident of some kind at some point in their lives. Very few of us, however, are aware of anyone who has been involved in a collision with a semi-truck or another type of large Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV).

80,000 - 230,000 pounds: the weight of an average commercial vehicle

3,400 pounds: the weight of an average pasenger vehicle

These accident cases are often very catastrophic, as the sheer size and weight of the average CMV dwarfs the average passenger vehicle by comparison. CMVs are also much more difficult to control. 

130 feet: the distance required by an average passenger vehicle to come to a complete stop from a speed of 55 miles per hour

400 feet: the distance required by an average semi-truck to come to a complete stop from a speed of 55 miles per hour

The truth is the American economy relies greatly on the trucking industry. While the benefits of the trucking industry are great for the economy, so are the dangers for the average driver.

70%: percentage of consumer goods in the United States transported by semi-trucks

2 million: total number of semi-trucks on our nation's roadways

8.9 million: total number of people who rely on the trucking industry for employment

Semi-trucks represented just four percent of all registered vehicles and just nine percent of all vehicle miles traveled in 2013. Yet unsurprisingly collisions involving semi-trucks involve a disproportionately higher incident rate of injuries and deaths.

3,964: fatalities resulting from accidents involving a semi-truck or other commercial motor vehicle

95,000: injuries resulting from accidents involving a semi-truck or other commercial motor vehicle

In 2013, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that there were 342,000 police-reported accidents involving a semi-truck or other type of CMV. These statistics were relatively similar to those reported in 2012, but have increased significantly since 2009. Injury-related collisions involving commercial trucks are up 28% over that time frame, while fatalities involving semi-truck accidents have jumped 17% overall. 

Furthermore, semi-truck drivers are found to be at-fault in a significant percentage of accident cases involving CMVs, yet are rarely injured by these same collisions.

71%: Percentage of fatalities resulting from semi-truck crashes caused to the occupant of another vehicle, not an occupant of the semi-truck

72%: Percentage of injuries resulting from semi-truck crashes caused to the occupant of another vehicle, not an occupant of the semi-truck

Even in cases where the truck driver suffered an injury, more often than not those injuries were relatively minor compared to the injuries inflicted upon the occupants of the other vehicle.