P&N BLOG | Analyzing The Surge of Large Trucks in Fatal Crashes
In recent years, an alarming trend has emerged on American roads – the increase of large trucks in fatal crashes. The safety of our highways is a critical concern, and the rise of these tragic incidents demands careful analysis and attention. According to data from reputable sources like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), and the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), the number of fatal crashes involving large trucks has shown a worrying upward trajectory. In this blog post, we will dig into the statistics, contributing factors, and potential solutions to address this pressing issue.
The Alarming Statistics
The statistics surrounding large trucks’ involvement in fatal crashes are deeply concerning. In 2021, a staggering 5,700 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes, marking an 18% increase from the previous year and a significant 49% increase over the past decade. This surge is mirrored in the involvement rate per 100 million large-truck miles traveled, which rose by 7% in 2021 and by a concerning 22% in the last ten years. Large trucks accounted for 9% of all vehicles involved in fatal crashes, despite making up only 5% of all registered vehicles and contributing 10% of the total vehicle miles traveled. Moreover, in 2021, 117,300 large trucks were involved in crashes resulting in injuries, marking a 12% increase from 2020.
Analyzing the Trends
The rise in large truck fatalities cannot be viewed in isolation; it’s part of a broader context. While overall traffic fatalities experienced a minor decrease of 0.3% in 2022, fatalities involving large trucks continued to be a concern. The pre-pandemic year of 2019 saw 5,082 fatalities involving large trucks, which slightly dropped to 4,988 in 2020 but spiked again to a worrisome 5,701 in 2021. Although 2022 saw a slight reduction to 5,230, the number remains significantly higher than pre-pandemic levels.
Several factors contribute to the rise in large truck fatalities. One key issue is the increase in aggressive driving behavior and vehicle traffic. As the pandemic subsided, vehicle activity surged, leading to congestion and potentially riskier driving habits. Additionally, the shift in freight operations towards shorter trips may play a role. Distribution centers and manufacturing facilities near major cities lead to more trucks operating in congested areas, potentially increasing the risk of accidents.
The payment structure for truck drivers could also influence driving behavior. Many truckers are compensated based on mileage, which may lead to pushing limits to maximize earnings. The decline in the average number of miles driven per truck further intensifies this pressure.
Addressing the rise in large truck fatalities requires a multifaceted approach. Training and guidance for drivers is paramount. Defensive driving techniques and programs can help prevent crashes, and ensuring drivers are well-versed in the safety technology within their trucks is crucial. Proper utilization of safety technologies, such as collision avoidance systems, can significantly reduce the risk of accidents.
Furthermore, a reevaluation of payment structures could alleviate some of the pressures that lead to unsafe driving practices. Exploring alternative compensation models that prioritize safety over mileage could encourage responsible driving habits. Additionally, initiatives to reduce congestion and improve traffic flow in congested areas could help mitigate accident risks.
The increase of large trucks in fatal crashes is a deeply concerning trend that demands immediate attention. As we navigate the complex landscape of modern roadways, it’s crucial to address aggressive driving behavior, traffic congestion, and payment structures that may contribute to this rise. By prioritizing driver training, safety technology utilization, and adopting innovative compensation models, we can work towards reversing this alarming trend and ensuring safer roads for all. Together, as a society, we can play a pivotal role in curbing these preventable tragedies and making our roads safer for everyone.
If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident involving a large truck or semi, call/text The Law Offices of Parente & Norem, P.C. today at 312.641.5926 or fill out a contact form here on our website for a free case evaluation.