Big Rig Accidents in Utah
Utah saw an overall increase in traffic fatalities in 2015. In fact, at 275, it was the highest number of highway deaths in the last 7 years. There were 19 more deaths in 2015 than the previous year. There were 40 deaths due to heavy truck accidents, which accounted for 15% of all fatalities. Large semi-trucks can weigh more than 80,000 pounds which can cause extremely serious damage when involved in an accident. The only areas that saw fewer deaths than 2014 were in drunk driving, motorcyclist, and improper passing.
The first harmful event is the initial cause of an accident. However, it is important to note that an initial event can lead to a much more serious or fatal accident. The most common first harmful event in Utah accidents in 2015 was impact with another motor vehicle. Other events included collision with pedestrians, rollover, hitting a pole, guardrail or barrier, collision with a bicyclist, hitting the curb, a parked car, wall or tree. These events may lead to more serious collisions that include injuries and fatalities.
In Utah, 62% of fatal traffic crashes happened on urban roadways while 38% happened in rural areas. It is likely that more truck accidents happen in rural areas or on highways rather than in cities and other urban centers. The highest number of deaths happened in the months of August, June, May, and July. Inclement weather could play a factor in some collisions. There were 15 more deaths reported during inclement weather in 2015 over those reported in 2014.
Some factors are reported to have contributed to a fatal crash. Some of the most commonly reported factors include:
- Speeding or traveling too fast for conditions
- Failure to stop at signal or sign
- Distracted driving
- Failure to yield to other drivers
- Drowsy driving
- Following too closely, tailgating
- Improper passing
- Inclement weather
Factors such as these are reported by drivers or included in accident reports due to police observation and information gathered from the crash scene. Drowsy driving is a factor that could contribute more commonly to truck drivers. Those who travel across the country may be on the road for long periods of time and may become tired. Drowsiness can cause impairment that is similar to that which occurs while under the influence of alcohol. Being behind the wheel for a long period can cause a driver to become distracted and unable to respond quickly to changes in road or traffic conditions.