Trucks with a gross weight over 10,000 pounds make up only four percent of all traffic on U.S. roads and account for only eight percent of all vehicle miles traveled each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Yet they are involved in eight percent of all fatal multi-vehicle accidents, in which 73 percent of those killed are the occupants of a passenger vehicle.
That’s according to a May 2014 report released by the NHTSA, which examines large truck accident data gathered throughout 2012. The agency reports that the number of large truck accident deaths increased four percent in 2012, amounting to 3,921 fatalities. The number of injuries in these crashes increased 18 percent, from 88,000 in 2011 to 104,000 in 2012.
Large trucks were also more likely than passenger vehicles to be involved in a multi-vehicle accident that caused a death, while passenger vehicles were more likely to be involved in single-vehicle accidents that resulted in death.
The NHTSA’s data includes any vehicle with a gross weight over 10,000 pounds as a “large truck.” Since the average passenger vehicle weighs about 3,000 pounds, however, even a collision with a smaller “large truck” can cause serious injuries to those in the passenger vehicle. A fully-loaded tractor-trailer may weigh up to 80,000 pounds and cause catastrophic damage in a collision.
Experienced Texas truck accident lawyers at Williams & Brown LLP view these numbers with concern. Overall, motor vehicle accident numbers have been dropping in the U.S. in recent years, which makes the news of an increase in truck-related deaths even more troubling.