Big Rig Accidents in Alabama
Big rigs are also known as 18-wheelers, semis, and tractor-trailers. These are large trucks that are used primarily for hauling various types of products across the country. These big rigs are typically 53 feet in length and can carry a load of up to 80,000 pounds. In total, they deliver more than 65% of all U.S. goods. Long distance trucks may travel as many as 100,000 miles each year.
Data regarding truck accidents over a ten year period from 2006 through 2015 shows the number of accidents involving big-rigs over the years decreased for a period of time but rose again starting in 2013. During the same period, the number of injuries has fallen slightly while fatalities have gone down.
|Year||No. Trucks in Crashes||Injuries||Fatalities|
These statistics are from the Alabama Department of Transportation 2015 Crash Facts published by DriveSafeAlabama.org, the most recent information available. It should be noted that the data does not provide details as to which vehicle caused the accident.
Big rigs may carry dangerous loads. When these vehicles are involved in crashes, they can cause more serious injuries and other dangers. In 2015 there was a total of 208 crashes that involved hazardous cargo.
- Flammable Gas 69.3%
- Corrosive Materials 18.3%
- Explosives 0.5%
- Other dangerous materials 11.9%
Of all Alabama crashes reported in 2015, most were on dry pavement with clear weather conditions in areas where there were no traffic control signals in place. Most happened on 2 or 4 lane roadways and on surfaces which are level. The highest number of accidents occurred on Friday while the largest amount fatal crashes happened on Saturday.
There are a number of factors that have been found to contribute to big rig accidents. The ten most common factors include:
- Improper Lane Use or Change
- Failure to Yield
- Failed to See Vehicle or Object
- Misjudgment of Stopping Distance
- Defective Equipment
- Improper Turn
- Avoiding an Object
- Improper Backup
- Driving too fast for conditions
Big-rig drivers may also be more apt to drive while they are tired than other drivers on the road. According to the Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS), 13% of commercial vehicle drivers were found to be fatigued at the time of an accident. Some semi drivers are on the roads for more than 12 hours a day. Fatigue can cause people to have slowed reaction times which may be comparable to those of drivers impaired by alcohol. As many as 3 out of 4 commercial drivers reported that they made at least one driving mistake due to being drowsy.