The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a report in the spring of 2014 on large truck accidents in the U.S. Although there was a national focus, the report explained that in 2012 there were 1,163 vehicles involved in fatal crashes in South Carolina, 79 of which, or 6.8 percent, involved large trucks.
The report defined a “large truck” as a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating greater than 10,000 pounds.
There were other interesting statistical insights in the administration’s report – again, nationwide in nature.
For instance, in 2012, there were 3,921 people killed and 104,000 people injured in crashes involving large trucks nationwide. Moreover, 333,000 large trucks were involved in traffic crashes in 2012.
The report cited an increase in the number of crashes involving large trucks. For instance, according to the agency, “Fatalities in crashes involving large trucks showed a 4 percent increase from 3,781 in 2011 to 3,921 in 2012. Of these fatalities in 2012, 73 percent were occupants of other vehicles, 10 percent were non-occupants, and 18 percent were occupants of large trucks. Between 2011 and 2012, fatalities in these crashes showed a 5 percent increase in the number of occupants of other vehicles killed and a 9 percent increase in the number of large-truck occupants killed. The number of non-occupants killed decreased by 11 percent.”
The report further explained that although in 2012 large trucks accounted for 4 percent of all registered vehicles, they accounted for 8 percent of all vehicles involved in fatal crashes.
Moreover, in 2012, “large trucks were more likely to be involved in a fatal multiple-vehicle crash as opposed to a fatal single-vehicle crash than were passenger vehicles.”
In almost half of the 2012 fatal crashes between a large truck and another vehicle, both vehicles were traveling in the same direction. As the report put it, “In 46 percent of the two-vehicle fatal crashes, both the large truck and the other vehicle were proceeding straight at the time of the crash. In 9 percent of the crashes, the other vehicle was turning. In 12 percent, either the truck or the other vehicle was negotiating a curve.”
Law enforcement agencies did not see as much fatality-related drunk driving among large-truck drivers as they did among other passenger vehicle motorists. As the report explained from the 2012 figures, “The percentage of large-truck drivers involved in fatal crashes who had blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) of .08 grams per deciliter (g/dL) or higher was 2 percent in 2012. For drivers of other types of vehicles involved in fatal crashes in 2012, the percentages of drivers with BAC levels .08 g/dL or higher were 23 percent for passenger cars, 22 percent for light trucks, and 27 percent for motorcycles.”
Finally, the administration reported that in 2012 nearly a fifth of “all large-truck drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2012 had at least one prior speeding conviction.” And the percentage was about the same for passenger car drivers.
What Truck Accident Victims Need to Do
The report does not get into this; nevertheless, many accidents, fatal and otherwise, involving large trucks are caused by driver fatigue or negligence on the part of the driver and/or the trucking company. For this reason, someone injured in a motor vehicle crash involving a large truck should immediately contact one of the Charleston truck accident attorneys at Pierce, Herns, Sloan & Wilson LLC.