Study: Trucks involved in disproportionate share of accidents

There is no doubt that in Joplin, we rely on commercial trucking to bring goods in and out of our city. There's also no doubt that heavy, fast-moving tractor-trailers increase dangers on Missouri's interstate highways and city streets.

Findings from a recent study show that big rigs are involved in a disproportionate number of accidents. Though trucks account for only 8 percent of all vehicle miles, they are involved in 11 percent of all fatalities among occupants of passenger vehicles.

The new research was published in the International Journal of Injury Control and Safety Promotion. Researchers state clearly in their paper that "(t)ruck crashes result in enormous costs in terms of personal injury, lost productivity, and property damage."

Part of that cost is in lost lives, with big rig accidents accounting for approximately 4,500 deaths annually in the U.S.

Researchers examined Tennessee crash data from a five-year period and looked at a variety of factors that helped them not only characterize the severity of crashes, but also the point out factors involved in increasing the frequency of accidents.

One of their findings probably won't surprise many readers. Researchers said that as the percentage of trucks increases on a road, the likelihood of injury also rises.

Let's face it: trucks are large, heavy vehicles that get up to high speeds on highways. Those speeds make it difficult for 18-wheelers to slow down and stop. When a vehicle weighing tens of thousands of pounds slams into a passenger vehicle, the odds are that the occupants of the smaller vehicle will be injured rather than the occupant of the tractor-trailer.

Researchers said they found that speed of the trucks is a major factor in determining how severe a collision will be. When a semi-truck is going more than 45 mph, the danger of a fatal crash is doubled, according to the study.

After a truck crash, survivors often struggle with enormous medical bills, long periods of recuperation, loss of income and sometimes permanent disabilities. They also find that those responsible for the damages are often unwilling to pay for what they've done.

For those survivors, and for families of victims who don't survive a truck crash, those responsible can be held accountable with the assistance of an experienced personal injury and wrongful death attorney.

Source: MedicalXpress.com, "Trucks found to be a significant cause of severe accidents," Dec. 6, 2013

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