Big Rig Accidents in Hawaii
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines large trucks, or big rigs, as any truck that has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of over 10,000 pounds. Many of these trucks weigh much more than that, which leaves motorists in cars and vehicles extremely vulnerable in any collision.
National data supplied by the NHTSA showed that in 2015 over 4,000 people were killed in collisions involving semi-trucks, and 74 percent of fatalities were occupants of other vehicles involved. Statistics from the NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) shows that 86 percent of semi- trucks that were involved in fatal accidents in 2015 had a GVWR in excess of 26,000 pounds.
Hawaii’s Large Truck Crash Statistics
Data can be drawn from FARS to show the number of crashes involving semis over a ten year period from 2006 to 2015:
|Year||Total Fatalities||Truck Occupants||Occupants of Other Vehicles||Non-occupants|
These statistics show that Hawaii consistently has had less than 10 fatalities in truck crashes each year since 2006. This represents 0.1 percent of the total number of fatal large truck crashes recorded in the United States every year.
A more detailed breakdown of the fatalities from 2013 onwards shows that non-occupants of vehicles were killed each year in these accidents. These include pedestrians and bicyclists.
Causes of Accidents
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) attached to the U.S. Department of Transportation carried out a Large Truck Crash Causation Study to determine the main causes of accidents. This study concluded that 29 percent of these types of truck accidents were attributed to brake failure. All other causes were driver-related or due to problems encountered with the roadway.
Among the top ten factors in big rig crashes were the following driver-related problems:
- Speeding in unsafe conditions
- Inability to brake in time
- Driver fatigue
- Prescription or over-the-counter drug use
- Distraction and inadequate surveillance
- Driving on unfamiliar roadways
Statistics published by the FMCSA over the period 2012 to 2106 gives a list of hazardous cargo carried by trucks involved in crashes. These include:
- Flammable liquids
- Corrosive materials
- Flammable solids
- Poisonous substances
During this period, big rigs carrying hazardous materials were involved in over 3,700 crashes throughout the United States. In more than 487 of these crashes, cargo was known to be released. Of these, 267 of the materials spilled were flammable liquids.