Which Trucks Have the Most Accidents?

Truck Accidents in MarylandAs trucks increase in size and weight, their blind spots grow and they become more difficult to control. When most drivers envision a “heavy truck,” they have an arbitrary picture of a big rig in their head. The fact is that a heavy truck falls into a classification between two significant categories, and these types of vehicles are responsible for most truck crashes in the United States.

  • Class 7 trucks: Class 7 trucks, falling within a weight range of 26,000 to 33,000lbs, are commonly used for regional deliveries, urban transportation, and vocational tasks. They’re versatile, accommodating various cargo types such as beverages, small machinery, and construction materials.
  • Class 8 trucks: Class 8 trucks, with a weight range of 33,000 to 80,000lbs, are heavy-duty and typically used for long-haul freight transportation, carrying goods like consumer products, industrial equipment, and bulk materials over far distances.

These semi-trucks are imperative to our Maryland communities, keeping our shelves stocked, and packages delivered, but their presence on the roads leads to tens of thousands of accidents a year.

How many accidents do heavy trucks account for in the USA?

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS), in 2020, a combination of both Class 7 and Class 8 trucks, meaning all trucks weighing over 26,000lbs were involved in 4,842 fatal collisions, 45,900 injury crashes, and 86,618 towaway crashes.

Of the nearly 5,000 fatal crashes, 73 percent were classified as “Collisions with vehicles in transport” and the same goes for 75 percent of the large trucks involved in nonfatal crashes.

Vehicle in transport, in the context of trucking, refers to when a truck or other commercial vehicle is on the road and en route to its destination with a shipment or cargo. The added weight of cargo can bring these heavy trucks up to 80,000 lbs., making them all the more difficult to maneuver at high speeds when a road hazard presents itself, and substantially more destructive when making contact with other road users.

What leads to most semi-truck crashes?

When a road hazard directly leads to a collision, that hazard is identified as “the critical precrash event.” For 63 percent of the large trucks in fatal crashes this precrash even occurs when another vehicle, person, animal, or object unexpectedly encroaches on the large truck’s lane.

Twenty-three percent of the large trucks in fatal crashes had critical precrash events of their own movement or loss of control. When a large truck loses control there are a host of events that can unfold, all with potentially perilous results.

5 types of serious truck accidents

Whether you’re driving alongside an 18-wheeler on I-95 or US 40 or trying to maneuver around a garbage truck or a street sweeper, you should be on your guard. Class 7 and Class 8 trucks are prone to certain types of crashes and accidents that can have catastrophic injuries:

  1. Jackknife Accidents: A jackknife accident occurs when a semi-truck suddenly halts, causing the trailer to swing out sideways and forming a dangerous 90-degree angle with the cab. This swinging trailer poses a significant threat to other vehicles on the road, as it can cross into adjacent lanes and strike vehicles with considerable force. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) 169 fatal jackknife accidents occurred in 2020 alone.
  2. Underride Accidents: Underride accidents occur when a smaller vehicle crashes into the rear or side of a larger truck and slides beneath its trailer. Both truck drivers and other motorists must exercise caution, particularly regarding a truck’s blind spots to avoid these disastrous accidents. According to the US Government Accountability Office, between 2008 and 2017, at least 219 underride fatalities occurred each year. Recent research leads us to believe, however, that these collisions are underreported.
  3. Rollover Accidents: Rollovers happen when a truck tips over due to abrupt stops or attempts to correct its course after a tire slips off the road. In a long-term study by the National Institute of Health (NIH), using data from the FMCSA which looked at 239 rollover accidents, they found that failure to properly brake when approaching a curve in the road is the number one cause of these devastating accidents.
  4. Tire Blowouts: Preventable yet perilous, tire blowouts occur when a tire’s sidewall ruptures from excessive heat and wear, resulting in a sudden burst. These blowouts can propel tire debris into nearby lanes, prompting truck drivers and or other motorists to overcorrect, elevating the risk of other accidents occurring. According to Claims Journal data, roughly 200 fatalities occur annually due to truck tire blowouts.
  5. Truck Driver Fatigue: As per the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), around 40% of truck accidents are linked to driver fatigue. Trucking companies sometimes pressure drivers to meet tight delivery schedules, resulting in violations of regulations governing hours of service. FMCSA has established rules limiting consecutive driving hours and mandating adequate rest intervals. Ignoring these regulations jeopardizes driver alertness, heightens the probability of accidents, and can lead to legal repercussions.

In the matter of seconds, a truck accident can alter a victim’s life. While physical and emotional recovery for yourself and your family should be your first priority, choosing the right Maryland truck accident lawyer should be your next step. At Plaxen Adler Muncy, P.A., our statewide team of attorneys are ready to earn you fair compensation after your accident. With nine convenient offices across Maryland, at Plaxen Adler Muncy, P.A., we are here to help. Call or complete our contact form to arrange a consultation.