Big Rig Accidents in North Carolina

Big Rig Accidents in North Carolina

Big rigs travel hundreds of thousands of miles a year to deliver goods across the county. Also called semi-trucks, these vehicles are large and heavy, carrying loads of up to 80,000 pounds. Accidents with these vehicles can result in serious injuries and fatalities. The North Carolina Department of Transportation, NCDOT, keeps track of accident statistics and provides a yearly report. Crashes on NC roadways increased in 2015, the most recent year of available reports. When comparing data to the previous year, the total number of accidents increased by 11.1% and fatalities increased by 8.1%.

Truck Fatal Crashes

There are various classifications of large trucks. 2015 statistics from NCDOT show:

Truck TypeAccidentsFatal Accidents
Single Unit Truck with 2 axles, 6 tires3,622 25
Single Unit Truck with 3+ axles1,56120
Truck/Tractor228 1
Tractor/Semi-Trailer4,236 57
Tractor/Doubles94 1
Unknown Heavy Truck2491

Larger sized trucks were more often involved in crashes, likely because there are more of them on the roadways.

Contributing Factors

There are various factors that contribute to incidents on the roadways. NC data for 2015 shows that overall, the top 5 factors that cause or contribute to accidents are:

  • Failure to Reduce Speed
  • Inattention
  • Failure to Yield Right of Way
  • Improper Lane Use
  • Reckless or Aggressive Driving

Additionally, following too closely behind another vehicle, also called tailgating, was another factor in the cause of road incidents. Distracted driving also sometimes plays a role. Common types of distractions include cell phone use, texting, navigation devices and distractions by passengers. Disregarding a traffic signal is also cited as a reason for serious crashes. For truck drivers, improper backing may cause the vehicle to hit into another vehicle.

Other Data

Of the total fatal accidents NC, most occurred in areas outside of intersections. The majority of those happened when a vehicle crossed the double yellow lines in a no-passing zone. In incidents that occurred in intersections, most happened where there was a traffic control device with a stop sign or stop light. The controls were reported to be working correctly in most of the fatal crashes.

When reviewing data over the last 5 years, the overall number of fatalities increased slightly over the years. In 2010 there were 1,323 deaths while in 2015 there were 1,380. The fatality rate decreased from 1.29 in 2010 to 1.23 in 2015. That is because a number of vehicle miles traveled increased.

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