Number of fatal truck accidents increases

The large size of trucks, especially compared to passenger cars, can be deadly in crashes. This fact makes a recent report from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration even more alarming. The FMCSA found that deadly large truck accidents rose in this country in 2016, the last year that statistics are available.

There were 3,864 deadly accidents involving 4,213 large trucks in 2016. This rate was lower one year earlier, with 3,622 accidents involving 4,074 trucks. A large truck weighs over 10,000 pounds. These accidents involved 4,317 deaths. Most of the victims, 3,595 of them, were not occupants of the trucks.

Injuries also increased. There were 145,000 injuries in 104,000 accidents involving large trucks in 2016. This was greater than 2015, when there were 83,000 injury accidents that resulted in 116,000 injuries. There were 475,000 accidents reported to police involving large trucks in 2016. 1 percent involved fatalities, while 22 percent involved injured victims.

The FMCSA did not assign blame for these accidents. However, 73 percent of fatal accidents involved another vehicle, person or object in the truck's lane or coming onto it. 23 percent of trucks in fatal accidents were involved in pre-accident incidents involving their own movement or loss of control.

Additionally, 2 percent of the 4,152 truck drivers involved in fatal accidents had a blood alcohol content exceeding the 0.08 legal limit. 3 percent had a BAC between 0.01 and 0.08. By comparison, 20.5 percent of passenger vehicle drivers in deadly accidents had a BAC exceeding the legal limit.

Even more stunning, these numbers are well below statistics for deadly crashes involving passenger vehicles in 2016. For that year, the FMCSA reported that there were 29,813 fatal accidents involving 40,908 passenger vehicles. These accidents involved 32,702 deaths.

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