Fatal Large Truck Crashes in 2008 and Their Causes

As we have reported here previously the preliminary 2008 analysis of Large Truck crashes is in from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and there is some insightful material contained therein. http://www.maryland-law.com/library/tractor-trailer-and-bus-crash-facts-2008.cfm

The report is broken down into four sections. Today we focus on the data concerning the physical circumstances of commercial truck and tractor-trailer crashes, involving both personal injuries and wrongful death.

An extensive list of variables in such crashes are analyzed including weather and lighting conditions, time of day and day of the week, and speed limit and proximity to a junction or intersection.

For both fatal large truck crashes and injurious commercial truck crashes, the vast majority involve collisions with other vehicles on the roadway. Slightly less than 75% of  all deadly 2008  large truck collisions involve  crashes with other vehicles. For injurious accidents, the percentage is almost 80%

Eighteen-Wheeler and commercial truck rollovers constitute about 5% of fatal crashes, while 8.7% involve collision with a fixed object and 6.8% crashes with pedestrians. Overall 3,733 people were killed in large truck crashes and 64,000 injured.

Not suprisingly, deadly truck collisions were overwhelmingly on roads with speed limits in excess of forty-five miles per hour. Only 24% of fatal large truck crashes were on roads with a speed limit of forty-five miles per hour or less and the largest percentage of such crashes occurred on roads with a speed limit of between fifty to fifty five miles per hour ( 35.8%).

64% of deadly commercial truck crashes were in rural areas and while interstate highways constituted 26.6% of fatal collisions, other principal arterial roads led the way with 30% of the deadly  truck crashes.

Twice as many fatal collisions occurred during daylight hours as at nighttime  and Wednesday is the deadliest day of the week.

Roadways without a center divider  barrier are the location of more than 80% of fatal large truck crashes and most happen away from junctions or intersections (66%), 

85%  of deadly large truck crashes happen during normal weather conditions and 81% on dry roadways. Two thirds of fatal truck crashes happen during daylight hours.

What are we to make of this information? First, the F.M.C.S.A. will perform detailed analysis and help us in understanding and interpreting this data in early 2010. Second, fatal trucking accidents are most lilkely to occur on a weekday, in a rural area, on dry roads in normal weather conditions, during daylight hours. Be careful out there.