It’s logical to conclude that the larger and heavier the truck, the greater its chances for causing a fatal trucking accident. A scientific study, recently questioned by the trucking industry, comes to the same inescapable conclusion.
The research effort was funded by The Railway Supply Institute and its findings released in November 2013. It reviewed fatal trucking accident data from the Federal Highway Administration from 2005 to 2009, which included the number of trailers and the number of trucks’ axles in each accident.
Larger Trucks Mean More Deadly Crashes
It found that, as trucks increased in size, so did their chances for fatal accidents. For example:
- Double-trailer trucks had a 15.5 percent higher rate of fatal accidents than those with single trailers
- Not surprisingly, trucks with three trailers were involved in more fatal trucking crashes than double or single-trailers
- Single-trailer trucks with six or more axles – indicating a heavier weight – had a fatal accident rate that was 867 percent higher than for all single-trailer trucks
The researchers also validated long-held concerns over large truck safety issues proven by earlier data. The study notes that trucks with bad brakes or other defective equipment are common. Heavier trucks take longer to stop and defective brakes, therefore, raise the odds for a deadly crash. The report also mentions that as cars have become smaller for the sake of fuel efficiency, they are increasingly vulnerable to the fatal dangers of large tractor-trailers.
In August 2014, a researcher funded by the American Trucking Association, a trucking lobbying group, disputed aspects of the 2013 study. But the fact remains: deaths caused by large commercial trucks have increased over the last few years.
The size of tractor-trailers is one contributing factor for fatal trucking accidents. Others include inattentive drivers and negligent actions by their employers. If a family member has been killed in a crash involving a commercial truck, an experienced attorney can investigate the trucking accident and pursue just compensation for your tragic loss.