Big Rig Accidents in Idaho
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that most fatalities in big rig accidents are occupants of passenger vehicles. These large trucks can weigh over 26,000 pounds and present a formidable danger to cars and light vehicles on the roads and highways.
Most of these vehicles are used for commercial purposes to haul cargo for long distances across the nation’s highways. Federal regulations stipulate that drivers of these rigs may only drive for up to eleven hours at a time, and for a total of 77 hours per week. However, many drivers are at the wheel for longer periods, and driver fatigue is a serious risk.
Big Rig Accident Statistics
The Office of Highway Safety of the Idaho Transportation Department published statistics for large truck crashes for a five year period, from 2011 to 2015:
These statistics include all crashes involving single unit trucks, single unit trucks with trailers, bobtails and semis with single, double and triple trailer configurations. The data shows that the number of fatalities reached a high in 2013, while the number of injuries in accidents has increased each year.
The statistics also show that sixty percent of large truck fatalities occurred on U.S. or state highways. However, forty-six percent of crashes involving these vehicles took place on local roads.
Causes of Large Truck Crashes
A study was conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in conjunction with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration into the causes of semi-truck accidents. Their sample for the study covered 963 crashes in 17 states which resulted in 249 deaths and 1,654 injuries.
They found that there were a number of critical events that caused unavoidable collisions:
- Veering out of the travel lane or off the roadway
- Loss of control when speeding in poor conditions
- Poor road conditions
- Failure of vehicle systems
- Shifting cargo
- Rear end collisions
Eighty-seven percent of accidents could be assigned to driver error or non-performance. The other crashes were attributed to vehicle malfunction or environmental conditions.
Hazardous cargo can compound the risk of fatality if they are released or spilled during crashes. Large trucks carry hazardous materials that include flammable liquids, gases, explosives, corrosive materials and poisonous substances.
The FMCSA released statistics covering semi-truck crashes from 2012 to 2015. Their study involved over 3,700 crashes involving trucks carrying hazardous materials. 487 of these accidents involved the release of cargo, with flammable liquids making up 55 percent of them.