The connection between truck volume and accidents

The chance of a large truck accident occurring has been shown to be linked to the volume of trucks on the road relative to other vehicles.

For most Chicago residents, the concept that things like truck driver fatigue or substance use can be factors in accidents is not new. These things can be involved in crashes involving semi-trucks and other large vehicle. However, they are not the sole causes of collisions with trucks. Research conducted by Taylor and Francis took a good look at how the number of trucks relative to other vehicles impacted the risk of an accident happening. Volume in addition to speed was noted to increase the chance of a truck accident from taking place.

Truck volume and accident risks

According to Science Daily, the study found that the potential for a fatality to result from a truck crash goes up along with the volume of truck traffic. This was noted to be the case even when overall traffic volume goes down. It was also discovered that there was a disproportionate relationship between truck volume increases and accident risk. When the volume of trucks goes up by one percent, the risk of an accident goes up by even more than that.

Truck speed and accident risks

The research also focused on speed thresholds and the correlation to tractor-trailer collisions. An error in driver manipulation of a vehicle, like an improper lane change, was found to have a lower impact on crashes than did speed. Accidents involving driver operation or maneuvers were more likely to result in damage to property than in fatalities. In contrast, the chance of a fatality was found to double when a truck is driven at a speed over 45 miles per hour.

Illinois truck accident fatalities

It is estimated that the United States experiences 4,500 fatalities in accidents involving large trucks every year. Statistics show that large trucks make up approximately eight percent of the country's traffic volume. However, the amount of fatal accidents they are involved in is greater than that. It has been shown that large trucks are involved in 11 percent of fatal crashes.

In Illinois, records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration over the course of five years show a steady increase in the number of truck-related fatalities. Specific details include the following:

  • There were 88 truck accident fatalities in 2009.
  • There were 112 truck accident fatalities in 2010.
  • There were 122 truck accident fatalities in 2011 and again in 2012.
  • There were 142 truck accident fatalities in 2013.

Overall, 586 people lost their lives in truck collisions in Illinois during this time. At the same time, several more people suffered injuries in crashes involving large commercial trucks.

A complex issue

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is the federal agency tasked with overseeing commercial transportation in the country. The FMCSA and NHTSA together took a look at factors that impact truck crashes and put them into different groupings. Within each grouping, some level of risk was found.

The driver decision or recognition group covered factors like internal and external distractions or speeding. Non-performance covered things like when a trucker falls asleep while driving. Performance factors covered actions like failing to use indicator signals properly.

Because of the wide range of factors that can lead or contribute to a truck collision, great care is needed in seeking proper compensation after one occurs. Working with trucking companies and commercial insurers is not always easy. For these reasons, it is advised that victims always work with an attorney at these times.