Big Rig Accidents in New York
Accidents with big rigs, also known as semi-trucks, can result in serious bodily harm or death. The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles Accident Information System (AIS) collects and reports on crash data from across the state annually. Data from 2015, the most recent report available, shows a total of 11,887 large truck crashes with 97 of them resulting in death.
In 2015, 10,782 big rig collisions were reported to the police. These ranged in severity.
Fatal - 97
Serious - 355
Moderate - 524
Minor - 2,397
Unknown severity - 120
Property damage - 7,289
Incidents that occur between big rigs and pedestrians, bicycles and motorcycles are tracked separately. The data from 2015 incidents include:
- Pedestrian – A total of 175 large truck and pedestrian crashes occurred. Of those, 18 resulted in fatalities and 157 in personal injuries.
- Bicycle – In 2015 there were 54 crashes between large trucks and bicyclists. Of these accidents, 5 were fatal, and 49 resulted in personal injuries.
- Motorcycle – A total of 39 big rig collisions occurred with motorcycles in 2015 which resulted in 3 people who died and 31 personal injuries.
Factors That Contribute to Big Rig Accidents
Police reports indicate contributing factors to large truck collisions. Factors are organized by category including:
Of the reported accidents in 2015, 372 reported no contributing factors while 10,410 reported at least one factor that contributed to the crash. Human factors accounted for the majority of accidents and the most deaths.
The top contributing human factors in 2015 included:
- Improper Lane Use – 2,602 with 20 fatalities and 660 personal injuries
- Driver Distraction – 1,950 resulting in 17 deaths and 675 injuries
- Following Too Closely – 1,643 accidents with 6 people who died and 764 who were injured
- Traveling at Unsafe Speed – 967 with 17 fatalities and 442 injuries
- Unsafe Backing – 837 crashes with 2 deaths and 86 cases of bodily harm
Driver distraction or inattention is a major factor in all types of accidents, including those involving large trucks. Distractions have been found to be dangerous, but may be particularly hazardous for semi-trucks because of their size and weight. This makes them more difficult to stop quickly.
In 2015 there were 960 truck crashes in which a vehicular problem was a factor, resulting in 12 deaths and 287 injuries. New York State Department of Transportation, NYSDOT, along with the NY State Police conducts roadside truck inspections. Local law enforcement agencies also participate. Safety inspections are performed according to standards set forth by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, CVSA. Vehicles that have defects must stay out of service until repairs are made and are penalized if they remain on the road.