Big Rig Accidents in Nebraska
The Highway Safety Division of the Nebraska Department of Roads reports that 96 percent of all the crashes that occur on the territory of the state do not involve large trucks. Big rigs, however, get spoken about because of their large size and the damage that such massive vehicles are capable of doing.
According to NHTSA’s Traffic Safety Facts report for 2013, Nebraska witnessed 279 fatal vehicle crashes during the year. Large trucks were involved in 27 of the crashes or about 9.7 percent of all the accidents.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has a more thorough report about fatal crashes involving big rigs and the number of individuals killed in each one:
|Year||Number of Fatal Crashes||Number of Trucks Involved||Number of Fatalities|
Recent information for 2016 and 2017 shows that unfortunately, the fatal collision number has been going up. In 2016, there were 1,046 crashes involving big rigs. These caused the deaths of 58 people, and they left 647 injured. In 2017, there have been 183 crashes so far. Six people were killed, and 95 were injured.
Contributing Factors and Causes
University of Nebraska – Lincoln carried out a thorough study to identify the contributing factors that increased the severity of truck crashes. Researchers found out that whenever alcohol consumption by the driver was involved, the outcome of the crash was severe.
The severity of accidents also increased at certain times of the day. Dawn and dusk were typically linked to more gruesome Nebraska truck crashes.
Researchers identified a few other contributing factors that could lead to more fatalities or injuries. These included:
- Snow, ice or water on the road
- Crashes with other heavy vehicles like farm machines, for example
- Driving on the highway rather than on local roads
- Absence of medians on roadways
Big rigs are often used to transport hazardous materials (hazmat) like flammable liquids or corrosives. Because of the cargo’s characteristics, the risks for participants in a traffic accident increase.
University of Nebraska research suggests that driver behavior contributes to the severity of 87 percent of collisions. Only 13 percent of the cases can be attributed to vehicle characteristics, weather and the transportation of hazardous materials.
The researchers also analyzed the types of hazardous materials most often transported by trucks involved in crashes. Here are the findings:
- Flammable liquids – 51 percent
- Corrosive materials – 29 percent
- Flammable gases – six percent
- Oxidizers – four percent
- Miscellaneous – four percent
Researchers have thus concluded that while hazmat big rig collisions are a rare event, the outcome can be disastrous, especially in the case when cargo spillage occurs. Such an accident will jeopardize the life of participants in the crash, and it could potentially lead to serious consequences for the community where the collision occurred.