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Truck accident statistics

A fully loaded tractor-trailer can be over 60 feet long and weigh 80,000 pounds. As per the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, they can take up to 40 percent longer to come to a complete stop than a passenger vehicle. Given their gigantic size, they’re considerably more difficult to maneuver than passenger vehicles.

The relevant numbers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) periodically compiles truck accident statistics. Between 2011 and 2013, about 72 percent of all truck crashes with fatalities involved a crash with another vehicle in transit. Aside from fatalities, 82 percent of those involved injuries. As per the most common speeds:

  • 13.9 percent were at speeds between 40 and 45 miles per hour
  • 36 percent were at speeds between 50 and 55 miles per hour
  • 20.5 percent were at speeds between 60 and 65 miles per hour
  • 16.5 percent were at speeds between 70 and 75 miles per hour

2013 fatalities and injuries

Most of those crashes occurred between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. There were no significant statistical differences on days of the week so long as the crashes occurred between Monday and Friday. For the 2013 year, there were about 327,000 truck crashes that were reported to police, and 3,541 involved fatalities. About 69,000 of those involved nonfatal injuries.

Causes of truck accidents

Most accidents involving large trucks are preventable. If truckers drive defensively and follow applicable federal regulations and state laws that are intended to promote highway safety, truck accidents would be reduced dramatically across the country. Some of the most common causes of large truck accidents are:

  • Driver distraction from using cellular and navigational devices or radios
  • Driver fatigue from violating hours of service laws
  • Overloading or improper loading that causes jackknifing or rolling of the tractor-trailer
  • Driving too fast for traffic or weather conditions
  • Inadequate driver training or driver inexperience
  • Failure to properly maintain equipment like tires or brakes

When a large truck or tractor-trailer collides with a passenger vehicle in Massachusetts, the results can be catastrophic. Both state laws and federal regulations require large trucks and tractor-trailers to have appropriate insurance coverage. Compensation in Massachusetts  (MA) is available for those who are injured or the families of those who are killed, but specific time limits apply. Both evidence and witnesses can disappear. Victims shouldn’t sit on their cases, especially if a governmental entity is involved because even shorter time limits could apply.

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