Big Rig Accidents in DC
Measuring up to 53 feet in length, or longer if a truck has multiple trailers, and as much as 80,000 pounds, semi-trucks are large compared to standard cars and SUVs. High-weight trucks are more at risk of a rollover and jackknife accident. The National Center for Statistics and Analysis also found that the driver of another vehicle is often to blame for the truck driver, and more than half of fatalities related to large truck accidents occur on non-divided two-lane roadways.
Large Truck Accident Fatalities in D.C.
Based on measures of traffic safety performance by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), involving crash type and fatalities, statistics for accidents with large trucks involved include:
|Number of Crash Fatalities
In June 2003, the NHTSA released a technical report that noted seven combination truck accidents with fatalities between 1996 and 2000. Fatal truck accidents, per 1,000 miles of road, involved 13 vehicles and 1,425 miles of roadway, resulting in a rate per 1,000 miles of 1.8, putting the district in 10th place in the nation.
The District Department of Transportation collects information about commercial motor vehicle collisions. A Fact Book was last issued for 2009, which noted 200 truck/trailer collisions and even more unknown heavy truck collisions. In an analysis of crashes and roadway type, the majority of collisions occurred on straight roads, in dry conditions, but a few occurred on curved roads too. Some collisions were associated with rainy, snowy, or foggy conditions but over three-quarters of them didn’t involve adverse weather conditions. Additionally, few happened during the nighttime hours compared to when there was daylight.
Traffic conditions were a factor, with most incidents occurring in heavy or medium traffic. These accounted for most injuries as well, although there were truck collisions, injuries, and property damage when traffic was relatively light.
Transportation corridors where crashes occurred in higher frequencies (from 2007 to 2009) included Pennsylvania Avenue, New York Avenue, and Connecticut Avenue. Most accidents occurred at an intersection or within 100 feet of one. Also, the report found crashes were more likely to occur from 12 p.m to 6 p.m. during weekdays.
Complete statistics are not yet available for recent years, but news of big rig crashes continues to make headlines. In April 2017, WJLA reported a tractor trailer flipping on top of a pickup truck on the Washington Beltway in nearby Prince George’s County. Minor injuries were reported, despite a fuel tank rupture on the rig. Crews cleaned up the spill before there was a fire or explosion.