Big Rig Accidents in Massachusetts
Big rigs are massive vehicles, which is why collisions and traffic accidents involving such trucks could potentially lead to a large number of injuries and fatalities.
Massachusetts has seen a reduction in the number of big rig accidents in the period from 2008 to 2012. Unfortunately, the numbers have surged ever since. Here are some Massachusetts statistics about accidents involving big rigs, their causes, and outcomes.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has detailed statistics about truck collisions in different states over the years. Here are some of the most prominent numbers for Massachusetts:
Massachusetts Department of Transportation Highway Division statistics suggests that for Boston alone, there have been 9,269 truck crashes in the period from 2007 to 2009.
According to the newest data for 2017 (data is incomplete because information is still being gathered), 258 large trucks have been involved in Massachusetts crashes. The number of crashes was 249, and these led to three fatalities/136 injuries. In comparison, there were 1,353 trucks involved in 1,306 crashes in 2016. These crashes caused 26 deaths and 601 injuries.
Big rigs often transport hazardous cargo – a fact that contributes to even bigger dangers for participants in a crash. The National Transportation Safety Board features thorough reports about accidents involving hazardous materials. As far as Massachusetts accidents go, one of the latest reports is from 1981 when phosphorus trichloride release occurred in a Boston accident.
Contributing Factors and Primary Causes of Truck-Related Accidents
The causes of large truck crashes are more or less the same throughout the country and Massachusetts is not an exception. Human errors, the condition of the vehicle itself and road condition will commonly be to blame.
According to FMCSA, a few of the common causes of truck crashes and fatalities include the following:
- Improper driver training and fatigue, defensive driving (according to the Large Truck Crash Causation Study, driver-related factors contribute to collisions in 87 percent of the situations)
- Unrealistic scheduling that encourages drivers to hurry and ignore some of the most important safety precautions
- Vehicle-related problems and poor maintenance (these contribute to crashes and accidents in about 10 percent, and such issues could include brake malfunctioning, tire issues, etc.)
- Environmental factors are to blame for three percent of the cases, and these could include unfamiliarity with the road, roadway problems, poor weather that limits visibility, traffic flow interruptions
The study involved a sample of 963 crashes that involved 1,123 big rigs, as well as 959 other vehicles. Crashes resulted in 249 fatalities and 1,654 injuries.