Big Rig Accidents in Louisiana
Big rigs weigh over 10,000 pounds, and the heavy trucks weigh more than 26,000 pounds. These vehicles are known by various names in the United States including eighteen wheelers, semis, and tractor-trailers.
The length of these rigs can vary depending on how many trailers they are pulling. Due to their weight and size, they can pose a huge danger to other roadway users. The risk is compounded by the possibility of brake failure, speeding and driver error.
Louisiana Accident Statistics for Large Trucks
Crash data is supplied by the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD):
|Year||Fatal Crashes||Injury Crashes|
The Louisiana crash statistics over the last ten years show that 2007 was the worst year for crashes resulting in fatalities and injuries. From that year onward there was a downward trend in the number of fatalities and injuries until 2013.
Large Truck Crashes in 2017
The DOTD has not released any statistics for the year to date. However, there have been a few crashes involving big rigs that have made headlines in 2017:
- In February 2017, a crash between a large truck hauling logs and another vehicle claimed the life of the truck driver when he braked to avoid a crash. The truck’s cargo shifted and penetrated the tractor cab, fatally wounding the driver.
- On April 13, 2017, an eighteen wheeler tanker carrying gasoline rear-ended a dump truck on the Interstate 310 near Luling, Louisiana. The tanker exploded and engulfed the dump truck in flames. The dump truck driver died at the scene while the tanker driver escaped with severe burns.
- In June 2017, a large truck overturned in Bienville Parish when the driver apparently lost control of the vehicle and left the roadway. He died of fatal injuries sustained during the crash.
Crash Contributing Factors
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published the results of a study into the causes of large truck crashes. They found that 87 percent of the reasons for accidents were attributed to driver misjudgment or non-performance. The FMCSA also found that the following were contributing factors to many big rig crashes:
- Driving too fast in unsafe roadway or weather conditions
- Defective tires and braking systems
- Driving on unfamiliar routes
- Inadequate vigilance
- Use of over-the-counter and prescription drugs
Many large vehicles transport hazardous materials to both domestic and international destinations. These include flammable liquids and solids, explosives, gases, corrosive chemicals and poisonous substances.
The FMCSA reports on the results of a survey that illustrate the added dangers of heavy vehicles carrying hazardous materials. They conducted a study of crashes over the period 2012 to 2016 involving over 3,700 trucks carrying these materials. In over 13 percent of these cases, cargo was released. In some instances, flammable liquids were spilled.