The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently published truck crash statistics from 2017. The study focuses on crashes involving large trucks, defined as any vehicle with a gross weight of 10,000 lbs. or more.


The results of the traffic study indicate a rise in truck crashes. In 2017, approximately 4,657 large trucks were involved in a fatal crash, a 9% increase from 2016 and a 45% increase since 2009. Occupants of the trucks accounted for 16% of the fatalities. Further, 107,000 large trucks were involved in crashes resulting in injury, a 5% increase since 2016.


Of the crashes analyzed, more than 50% of large truck accidents occurred on rural roads, and 65% of these crashes happened during the daylight hours.


The study did not draw any conclusions as to why there is an increase in the amount of truck crashes. For the full NHTSA study, click here. 


So, why should you be concerned about these statistics? Note that over half of these crashes occurred on rural roads, and not highways. A majority of Pennsylvanians live in rural areas, and use back roads to commute to work every single day. What this means is that local drivers should be as focused and vigilant behind the wheel on back roads as they are on the highways.


The best way to protect yourself on the road is to practice defensive driving skills.


A few tips:

Eliminate Distractions (i.e. Put the Phone Down!) Take care of all  household activities prior to departure. Your car is a place to drive; it is not a mobile kitchen, bathroom, or office. Also, be sure to attend to the radio, GPS settings, and other electronic needs before leaving the driveway. Avoid answering texts or calls while behind the wheel. The average amount of time it takes to look at a text is four seconds, which, in driving terms, is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field blind. If you must take the call, pull off the road, and answer the call or text, but only when it is safe to do so.


Share the Road: Try to avoid avoid tailgating other trucks and cars. Leave space between you and the other vehicles in front of you. Trucks and large vehicles require space for wide turns. Further, if you are too close to other vehicles, the laws of physics will not be kind to you if you need to stop short or make quick adjustments in a dense line of traffic. Don’t hover in anyone’s blind spots. Be visible, so that other vehicles on the road can see where you are, and can safely adapt to changing road conditions.


If you have been injured in a truck crash, please call Graham & Mauer, PC today.

This article is not legal advice. For legal advice, call Graham & Mauer, P.C.