Large commercial trucks, which people often call semi-trucks and 18-wheelers, help to provide cost-effective transportation for raw materials and consumer goods. They are crucial components in the modern economy, but they are also an unignorable safety concern for everyone on the road. Commercial vehicles cause some of the worst crashes that occur every year, claiming thousands of lives and changing many others.
In 2020, the most recent year with crash data available from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there were roughly 415,000 crashes involving semi-trucks. 4,444 of those collisions lead to someone dying, and another 101,000 of the collisions lead to people getting hurt.
These are some of the trends uncovered in an analysis of these semi-truck crash statistics that may prove to be valuable for drivers of vehicles ranging in size from motorcycles to fully-loaded commercial trucks.
Many collisions occur on weekdays
A lot of commercial transportation occurs during the week and not on the weekends. Companies need materials delivered when workers are on hand to receive and store the shipment, so they plan for delivery during standard business hours in many cases. While there are trucks running at all times across the country, people are at the highest risk for a deadly crash with a commercial vehicle between Monday and Friday each week, as that is when 87% of fatal wrecks occur.
The nighttime is more dangerous than the day
Many of the deadly crashes involving semi-trucks happen after the sun sets for the day. Roughly 37% of fatal crashes and nearly a quarter of all crashes that lead to injuries occurred between 6 pm and 6 am according to the FMCSA.
Roads with higher speed limits are more dangerous
More than half of the fatal semi-truck crashes that occurred happened on rural roads. Another quarter of the deadly wrecks reviewed took place on interstate highways. These routes with higher speed limits often see higher overall levels of commercial vehicle traffic and also far more serious collisions when they do occur.
Remaining well-informed about the always-changing statistics related to collisions between commercial vehicles and passenger vehicles may help people reduce their personal risk of a semi-truck wreck. When it comes to staying safe on the road – as well as seeking compensation in the wake of a crash – knowledge is power.