Big Rig Accidents in North Dakota
131 fatalities occurred on North Dakota roadways in 2015. This number includes crashes with all types of vehicles. Traffic incidents happened on average once every 35 minutes. One person was injured every 1.8 hours, and a person was killed every 2.8 days. Speeding or traveling too fast for road conditions caused a crash every 3.2 hours. The ND fatality rate was slightly above the national average each year for the last ten years.
Truck Accident Data
The North Dakota Department of Transportation publishes an annual crash summary report. The most recent report contains data from 2015. That year there was a total of 37 big rig accident fatalities which accounted for 21.6%of all fatal crashes. The number of large truck deaths was second only to pickup or utility trucks. The percentage of fatalities is the highest in the period from 2009 through 2015, more than doubling the percent in 2009. The vast majority of crashes happened in rural areas with only 1 occurring in an urban location. Fatal accidents are defined as those where a death occurred within 30 days of the incident.
Big rig drivers may be licensed in any state. Therefore, some accidents with large trucks are likely to occur with out of state drivers. In 2015, the total number of fatal crashes with ND drivers was 118 or 70.7% while the out-of-state drivers were involved in 49 fatal incidents, equivalent to 29.3%. Throughout the last ten years, the most fatalities occurred in August while the least was in February.
Although alcohol is a factor in some accidents, there were no truck fatalities where alcohol was a factor in 2015. 38.8% of drivers involved in crashes were issued a citation for a traffic violation. Of the citations issued, the leading violation was “care required,” which was cited in 27.9 % of tickets issued in these circumstances.
While the largest number of traffic incidents happened in urban locations, the majority of fatal accidents occurred in rural areas. Only 14 fatalities happened in urban areas while 97 were on rural roadways. Most crashes happened during daylight hours with the second highest number happening on dark, unlighted roads.
There were some factors that contributed to fatal crashes. The top 5 most common factors in 2015 included impaired driving, speeding, improper evasive action taken, failure to stay in proper lane and failure to yield. Weather played a part in 11 fatalities. Up to 3 contributing factors may be reported by law enforcement for each incident. Road conditions are reported that may include whether the pavement was wet, had snow or frost, mud, oil, sand or ice.