Truck Accident Deaths Down Due to Weak Economy
Yes, the weak economy has no doubt affected you in some way. Many have lost investments, jobs, even their homes because of the economic downturn. But here is a way you may have been affected positively and not even known it: tractor-trailer crash fatalities have decreased substantially during the recession. The number of freight loads, and therefore tractor-trailers, on the road is down because of the poor economy. Correspondingly, tractor-trailer collisions and fatalities are down as well.
According to research by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, in 2009 there were 3,163 deaths in crashes involving tractor-trailers. Fatalities in 2008 totaled 4,017. The decrease in the 2009 figures represents a decrease of more than 21 percent and is the lowest number of deaths since researchers began collecting data in 1975. The number of deaths has decreased every year since 2004.
This is especially good news for car drivers. The latest figures show that 70 percent of fatalities in large truck accidents are occupants of passenger vehicles. Truck occupants accounted for 14 percent of the fatalities, while pedestrian, bicyclist, and motorcyclist deaths combined account for 14 percent of the total. The figures are worse in two-vehicle truck-car accidents. Ninety-eight percent of vehicle occupants killed in two-vehicle crashes involving a passenger vehicle and a large truck in 2009 were occupants of passenger vehicles.
Apparently, size does matter. Of the total number of deaths from truck crashes in 2009, 72 percent involved tractor-trailers, while only 28 percent involved smaller, single-unit "straight" trucks. Truck-occupant fatalities also increased when larger trucks were involved. Of these deaths, 60 percent involved collisions with another large truck.
Surprisingly, the deadliest area for large truck accidents was not the nation's interstate highway system. Only 31 percent of truck-related deaths occurred on interstates or freeways. Major roads other than interstates accounted for 58 percent of fatalities. These major roads can have intersections, traffic signals, and other hazards not found on a limited access interstate/freeway. Minor roads were the location of 11 percent of the fatalities.
So while truck-related deaths have been trending down for several years, caution should be exercised when encountering tractor-trailers on the highway. Any mix of large trucks and passenger vehicles usually does not work out well for automobile occupants.