Big Rig Accidents in Minnesota
Big rigs are massive trucks that can cause potentially detrimental crashes. Because of the size of these vehicles, they can cause fatalities to drivers and passengers in other vehicles. While the number of semi-truck accidents in Minnesota has been decreasing, there are still numerous collisions that cause both death and injuries.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration maintains records of fatal crashes involving trucks. The scope of the analysis covers the period from 2005 to 2015.
|Year||Number of Fatal Crashes||Number of Fatalities|
According to 2015 data collected by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, there have been 4.226 accidents involving trucks in the state. The number represents a 16 percent decrease on an annual basis. Apart from the fatalities mentioned in the table above, there have been 1,316 injuries.
A report for 2017 (obviously, incomplete data since information is still being gathered) that there were 416 crashes involving large trucks so far. These caused eight deaths and 132 injuries. In comparison, 1,985 collisions occurred in 2016. These accidents caused 61 deaths and 769 injuries.
Big rigs are specialized vehicles used to transport all kinds of cargo across the country. Often, they will transport hazardous materials (hazmat).
There are no Minnesota statistics pertaining to hazmat accidents and their consequences. According to FMCSA statistics, the hazmat crashes that occurred in 2014 involved the following kinds of cargo:
- Flammable liquids – 48.6 percent
- Unknown – 22.9 percent
- Corrosives – 8.6 percent
- Flammable gases – 5.7 percent
- Oxidizing substances – 5.7 percent
- Explosives – 2.9 percent
- Flammable solids – 2.9 percent
Contributing Factors and Collision Causes
According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, various factors have contributed to collisions involving trucks in 2015. Inattention and distracted driving have by far led to most traffic accidents. Here are the detailed statistics:
- Inattention and distracted driving – caused an accident in 17.7 percent of the cases (517 accidents)
- Improper lane use – 11.6 percent
- Failure to yield right of way – 10.3 percent
- Following another vehicle too closely (which makes it very difficult to react in the case of a sudden stop) – 8.1 percent
- Illegal or unsafe speed for the respective road conditions – eight percent of the accidents
- Improper turn – six percent
- Unsafe backing – 4.7 percent
- Disregard for a traffic control device – 2.1 percent
- Overcorrecting – 1.8 percent
It’s easy to see that human error, poor training, and misjudgment of the traffic conditions have led to the biggest number of collisions on the road. A few other less prominent factors causing semi-truck accidents include improper overtaking of another vehicle, failure to signal an upcoming maneuver, impeding traffic, defective brakes, skidding and weather conditions.