Turn on the news and it seems just about everyday you’ll hear of a major motor vehicle accident on a road not far from where you live. Unfortunately, it’s not just your imagination that serious car and truck accidents happen frequently.
In 2011, 2.2 million people were injured and 32,367 individuals lost their lives in an estimated 5.3 million police-reported motor vehicle traffic crashes. To put that in perspective, that’s a startling 6,074 people injured and 89 fatalities on average every single day across our country in vehicle accidents.
To better understand how car and truck collisions affect our lives and what we can do to avoid them, let’s take a closer look at some accident facts and statistics.
Car & Truck Occupant Injury & Fatality Statistics
As you might guess, more people lose their lives in car accidents than in trucking collisions. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were far more people killed or hurt in passenger cars than in trucks in 2011. In fact:
- Vehicle type and occupant deaths were: passenger cars (11,981), light trucks (9,272) and large trucks (635).
- Vehicle type and occupant injuries were: passenger cars (1,240,000), light trucks (728,000) and large trucks (23,000).
- Of the 9,878 alcohol-related driving fatalities: 24% were drivers of passenger cars, 21% were drivers of light-truck, and 1% for drivers of large trucks.
A Typical Car vs. a Tractor-Trailer
Although it’s more likely you will be in an accident with another personal use vehicle, collisions with commercial trucks pose a terrible risk for catastrophic injury or death. When a lighter, smaller weight vehicle collides with a heavier, larger one, the smaller one stands to sustain considerably more damage.
Passenger cars have less size and structure to absorb the crash impact, resulting in greater crash force. This is especially the case when you are in an accident with a massive commercial truck that can weigh 20-30 times more than your family car.
In the event of a crash with a commercial vehicle, a typical passenger car can easily be crushed, altogether destroyed, or run off the road. Also, given how much taller big rigs are, a car is at risk of being in a terrifying underriding accident whereby it gets stuck beneath the truck bed.
Drive a pickup truck or SUV? While these vehicles do have a greater size and weight to better absorb the impact from a crash, their high center of gravity makes them more prone to deadly rollovers.
Crash data on large trucking accidents further shows that passenger car occupants are far more likely to lose their lives than occupants in large trucks.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), a total of 3,660 people died in large truck crashes in 2014. Of those accidents:
- 16% were truck occupants
- 68% were cars and other passenger vehicles occupants
- 15% were pedestrians, bicyclists or motorcyclists
What Can I Do to Be Safer?
Whether you drive a passenger car or a tractor-trailer, the tenets of safe driving are largely the same:
- Always buckle up
- Follow the rules of the road to a T
- Avoid distractions and stay focused on the road the entire time
- Pay attention to other drivers’ behaviors
- Never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol
These measures will go a long way in keeping you and the family from becoming another accident statistic. They may seem like obvious safety steps, but the key is consistency. If you otherwise are an attentive driver, remember it only takes one moment of distraction to cause an accident that changes your life forever.
When driving around big rigs, delivery trucks, and other large vehicles, there are a few additional safety tips to keep in mind:
- Avoid hanging out in their blind spots
- Refrain from cutting them off
- Give yourself extra space when driving behind them
The Flood Law Firm Is Here for You
Driving is an everyday activity for most of us. When we step away from it and consider how dangerous driving can be, it can be a little overwhelming. Nobody wants to be in a fender bender, much less a devastating collision.
The Flood Law Firm is committed to educating the public on good driving habits to make all of our commutes safer.
If you do find yourself in an accident, or have a loved one who has been in one, please reach out to us today. Our car accident attorneys have been successfully representing victims for years, winning them millions in settlements and verdicts. The compensation we may secure for you can go far in helping you heal after your accident.