We understand intuitively the dangers of large commercial trucks. The size and weight of over-the-road 18-wheelers are menacing threats to the vehicles with which they share the road.
And now we have additional, new research that validates these common-sense assumptions.
Researchers at the University of Tennessee conducted a study of over 1,100 single and multi-vehicle crashes involving trucks weighing more than 10,000 pounds. The study, titled “Identifying the Factors Contributing to the Severity of Truck-involved Crashes” and published byInternational Journal of Injury Control and Safety Promotion, notes other data that shows 70 percent of all those killed in truck-related accidents were passengers in other vehicles.
Factors Leading to Fatal Trucking Accidents
This new study establishes the various aspects that lead to fatal trucking accidents. It identified 15 factors that significantly contribute to making large trucking accidents more catastrophic. The authors classified the factors into five broad categories:
- Traffic characteristics
- Driver characteristics
- Vehicle characteristics
- Weather characteristics
- Geometric characteristics (condition of the roadway)
In terms of traffic, the study reveals that the chances for a fatal trucking accident are actually higher when fewer vehicles are on the road. This is because with less traffic, a truck is more likely to travel at higher speeds. And the study indicates that speeds above 45 mph double the chances for a fatal trucking accident.
Not unexpectedly, the study also reveals that when there is a greater ratio of trucks on the road with other vehicles, the chances for a fatal accident are increased.
According to this research, male truck drivers are more dangerous than women because they are more likely to be aggressive behind the wheel, as well as drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Again, the findings validate what we already assume to be true: impaired truck driverspose a great risk for others because of their slow reaction times and bad judgment.
The authors conclude that the larger the truck the greater the risk for a fatal accident. Regarding weather, the study shows a definitive link between bad weather and a higher risk for fatal big rig accidents.
As this latest study documents, there are many factors that can cause a catastrophic trucking accident, and the most likely to suffer are, unfortunately, people in other cars. Attorneys experienced in conducting trucking accident investigations can identify those liable for a fatal trucking accident and hold them responsible to their victims.