Big Rig Accidents in New Jersey
New Jersey is one of the states responsible for the provision of the most accurate reports pertaining to big truck and bus accidents as well as safety. Thus, it has received an excellent rating from the US Department of Transportation pertaining to the effectiveness of measures aimed at reducing the risk of collisions.
While such efforts are ongoing, big rig crashes still occur. Unfortunately, some of them have a fatal outcome.
Data for 2014, suggests that 789 fatal traffic accidents have occurred in New Jersey. Big trucks were involved in 81 of the collisions, representing 10.3 percent of all cases. These collisions caused the death of 13 truck drivers and 74 individuals who were either in other vehicles or were pedestrians.
FMCSA has thorough reports about fatal accidents that occurred in the period from 2005 to 2015. As far as big rigs go, here are the numbers:
Data for 2016 and 2017 shows slight increase in the number of fatalities. In 2016, there were 5,024 collisions involving 5,351 vehicles. These caused 66 deaths and 3,003 injuries. Incomplete data for 2017 suggests that there have been 781 crashes causing nine deaths and 442 injuries.
Human error and the behavior of drivers can contribute to 87 percent of the crashes that occur on an annual basis. Vehicle malfunctions, dangerous cargo and weather conditions together can lead to the remaining 13 percent of the cases.
Here’s a list of the top factors that can lead to serious collisions involving big rigs. Since there aren’t local statistics for New Jersey, national averages can be explored to identify patterns:
- Driver fatigue and distraction
- Insufficient distance between the truck and the vehicle ahead
- Driving too fast for the conditions or having limited visibility because of the weather
- Use of prescription drugs or alcohol
- Aggressive driving
- Improper driver qualifications
- Impossible to meet schedules that force drivers into reckless behavior on the road
- Vehicle problems and malfunctions
- Unfamiliarity with the road
- Driving in the wrong lane
Hazmat situations are present in just a few of the big rig accidents but they can contribute to massive dangers.
FMCSA reports suggest that in 2015, only 3.3 percent of all large truck fatal collisions involved the transportation of hazardous materials. The figure is down from 3.9 percent in 2013.
A few types of hazardous cargo commonly present in both fatal and non-fatal collisions include the following (2014 data):
- Flammable liquids
- Flammable gases
- Unknown hazardous materials
- Flammable solids
- Oxidizing substances