Big Rig Accidents in Illinois

Big Rig Accidents in Illinois

In 2015 there were 313,316 crashes involving vehicles of all types in Illinois. People were injured in 65,744 of these crashes, while fatalities occurred in less than one percent.

Tractor-trailers were involved in almost nine percent of all fatal crashes. That amounts to almost one in ten, which gives impetus to the efforts of the Illinois Department of Transportation to continually strive for improved safety on roads and highways.

Illinois Accident Statistics for Large Trucks

Illinois reports the following statistics for the period 2012 to 2015:

YearTotal FatalitiesTotal CrashesFatal CrashesInjury CrashesA-injury Crashes

The total numbers of fatalities recorded in the state are drawn from the data released by FARS, the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, which is managed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Statistics on crashes involving big rigs are published by the Illinois Department of Transportation in their annual report on Crash Facts and Statistics.

The statistics show that the total number of fatalities is decreasing from a high in 2013 even though the number of crashes involving tractor-trailers has increased every year since 2012.

The reports also show that almost 85 percent of fatalities were occupants of other vehicles involved in collisions with large trucks. Just over one percent of the victims were tractor-trailer occupants.

Hazards Associated With Large Trucks

Large trucks are known by various names including tractor-trailers, semis, big rigs and 18 wheelers. They can weigh anything over 10,000 pounds, with the heavier vehicles weigh over 26,000 pounds.

With this kind of weight, they pose a danger to other motorists at any speed. They also need more distance than a car in which to brake and come to a complete standstill. Brake maintenance is essential. In a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) study, it was determined that 29 percent of large truck accidents were caused by faulty brakes.

In the same study, the FMCSA found that 87 percent of crashes were due to driver error. Some of the top causes of accidents were:

  • Driver fatigue
  • Speeding in hazardous roadway or weather conditions
  • Drug use
  • Inattention and inadequate surveillance

Driver fatigue was found to be a factor in 13 percent of crashes. Despite federal regulations limiting large truck driving time to 11 hours at a stretch, many big rig drivers work much longer hours.

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