Causes of Truck Accidents in Oklahoma

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Truck Accidents in Oklahoma involving huge trucks are often fatal due to their sheer size and the high speeds at which they frequently drive. More than one vehicle is involved in four out of every five commercial truck collisions.

A direct hit occurs one out of every three times.

Thousands of Americans are killed or seriously injured every year in collisions involving huge trucks. There are tens of thousands of people slain. Oklahoma has a higher death rate from truck accidents than most other states in the country.

The numbers aren’t looking good. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are over 500,000 trucking accidents on American highways each year, with around 5,000 resulting in fatality (the last year for which figures are available). Approximately 4,000 people died and 95,000 people were injured in the crashes, according to the NHTSA.

Even as newer and faster modes of transportation are devised every day, the trucking sector in the United States continues to grow. Truck transport is regarded as one of the most efficient means to carry goods throughout the United States, with over 70% of all products arriving by truck.

There are many different types of trucks on the road nowadays, as any detailed truck accident statistics page will tell you. These mostly differ in terms of the amount and type of cargo they can transport, with some specializing in frozen items and others handling a diverse and smaller load for local transportation.

Regardless, this profession has garnered a lot of notoriety throughout the years, particularly in the last few decades; with so many reckless truck drivers, accidents are likely to happen. It’s predicted that by 2030, it’ll be the sixth leading cause of mortality in the United States.

Nonetheless, many people across the United States regard this as their primary source of income, and a lucrative one at that. As a result, it’s a good idea to learn more about the most common causes of truck accidents in Oklahoma, the statistics that follow from them, and the best strategies to improve them for a safer environment overall.

Truck Accidents: Five Must-Know Facts

  • Since 2009, there has been a 52 percent increase in these accidents.
  • A huge truck is involved in 74% of all fatal passenger vehicle accidents.
  • Tire failures account for almost 30% of all truck-related accidents (the most common cause).
  • The majority of these collisions happen throughout the day, with up to 19% occurring between noon and 3 p.m.
  • Passengers account for 68 percent of all truck fatalities.

Truck Accidents in Oklahoma are on the rise.

1. Every year, around 130,000 people are injured in truck accidents.

Because of their tremendous size and weight, truck accidents frequently result in severe injuries. Broken bones, back and neck injuries, head trauma, internal hemorrhage, spinal cord damage, and whiplash injury are all examples of severe injuries. These injuries necessitate prompt medical attention and, in some cases, numerous procedures, which can be prohibitively expensive.

2. Males accounted for 97 percent of fatalities among heavy truck drivers in 2018.

According to statistics on truck fatalities by gender and vehicle type, male drivers are more likely to die in truck accidents than female drivers. Trucks, also known as juggernauts on the road, are the most dangerous and destructive vehicles on the road.

According to truck accident data, driver weariness and inexperience are two of the most common causes of truck accidents. Truck drivers must be experienced and well-rested before hitting the road, as big vehicles are not simple to manage. This ensures safe vehicle operation and maximum control.

3. Women account for only 5.8% of truck drivers in the United States.

This could also be one of the many factors contributing to the high number of fatalities among male truck drivers. It’s because out of 3.5 million truckers, only 20,000 are female. Nearly 94.2 percent of truck drivers are men, according to the data.

4. Hazardous cargo is found in about 4% of heavy trucks that are involved in fatal collisions.

It is critical to drive safely and attentively when transporting hazardous items such as flammable liquids. These are liquids that easily ignite, burn, and catch fire. As a result, a trucker hauling hazardous cargo faces a significant chance of truck death in a collision because the cargo is likely to explode or catch fire.

Combustible liquids, explosives, oxidizing compounds, radioactive items, and flammable solids are among the other risky commodities that can explode in a crash.

5. In 2017, 4,102 people died in truck accidents, a 52 percent increase from 2009.

According to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) of the United States Department of Transportation, there have been a total of 4,102 fatalities in multiple-vehicle incidents involving a truck. This figure represents a huge 52 percent increase from the report’s inception in 2009, when only 3,147 people were killed in the same way.

6. According to commercial truck accident statistics, the passenger vehicle — car, van, or SUV — was responsible for 97 percent of all deaths in crashes involving one or more heavy trucks.

When it comes to fatalities in truck-related incidents, the data are quite consistent, with the majority (97 percent) being occupants of passenger vehicles. Furthermore, numbers haven’t altered much in the last decade, despite the fact that passenger mortality rates have long been known to be high in passenger vehicles (98 percent ).

7. Despite an overall drop in motor vehicle accidents, the number of 18-wheeler crashes has climbed in recent years.

In general, there has been a 2% decline in motor vehicle accidents during the last couple of years. Larger freight vehicles, on the other hand, have had the greatest increase in the number of accidents, with trucks weighing between 10,000 and 14,000 pounds experiencing the greatest increase in the number of accidents. With tractor-trailers weighing more than 26,000 pounds, a 5.8% increase in fatality rates was found.

8. The number of persons killed in large truck accidents has reduced dramatically since 1975.

In recent years, the number of actual deaths among car and truck occupants per truck mile traveled has declined, especially when compared to 1975, when fatal collision data was first gathered. The number of deaths per 81,330 truck miles decreased from 916 deaths among large truck occupants and 2,757 deaths among car occupants to 683 and 2,797 deaths every 297,593 truck miles traveled, respectively.

9. In heavy rig accidents, the first detrimental event is a collision with a moving vehicle, which can result in fatal injuries or property damage.

A fatal collision with a vehicle occurs in 74 percent of all big rig accidents, 81 percent of all injury cases, and 76 percent of all property damage cases. In other words, the first potentially hazardous event in an accident involving a huge truck is a collision with another vehicle.

10. Up to 30% of fatal crashes and 12% of injury cases in work zones were wrecks involving trucks, one or more at a time.

This information was taken from the most recent case records and shows a consistent increase in work zone accidents. In 2013, the rate of fatal crashes involving at least one large truck was about 28%, only to rise by 2% in the coming years. As it seems, truck drivers’ negligence, as well as of the remaining vehicles in the respective zone, is the main reason behind such accidents.

11. FMCSA Truck driver regulations have been enforced to reduce accidents.

The truck driver factor in accident statistics has been in the focus of regulations intended to reduce the possibility of crashes. FMCSA restricts the number of hours that truck drivers can spend behind the wheel to 14, and at the same time demand mandatory rests during the drive if there haven’t been a minimum of 8 hours since the driver’s last haul. Electronic stability control has also been enforced to this effect, with initial results from 2011 to 2015 showing that ESC has saved about 7,000 lives.

12. Truck accident statistics prompted strict recommendations and preventive measures from NHTSA.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration classifies any vehicle with a weight rating of over 10,000 pounds to be a large truck. This has come to include 15-seat vans, which are henceforth required to have an extensively experienced large truck driver responsible for both passengers and cargo, to eliminate potential risk factors.

What Causes So Many Truck Accidents in Oklahoma

13. Contrary to common belief, drugs, and alcohol abuse are not among the top causes of these crashes.

Instead, the Large Truck Crash Causation Study conducted by the FMCSA discovered that mechanical defects (with tires, most often), new tour routes, and fatigue are the most common causes of truck crashes. Aggressive driving has also been emphasized as a frequent cause, although it has had a direct effect in no more than 5% of the cases. In contrast, consider the fact that only 0.4% of crashes in the study were caused by illegal substance abuse, and 0.3% from alcohol consumption.

14. The top truck accident cause — mechanical defects — most often include tire and brake issues.

When it comes to truck defects, issues with the tires, wheels, and brakes seem to be the most common cause of accidents. On top of that, the more recent electronic systems incorporated in trucks are just as risky, as well as steering wheel defects.

15. The weight of the vehicle also constitutes a common cause of big truck crashes.

Large trucks understandably weigh much more than a regular vehicle, especially when bearing cargo to the maximum. As a result, their total weight oftentimes surpasses 40 tons, as opposed to your regular passenger vehicle that normally weighs about 2.5 tons. Due to such circumstances, these trucks take a lot longer to come to a stop than regular vehicles, and all the more so if their cargo is not loaded evenly and properly in the back trailer.

16. Semi-truck accident causes include the truck’s speed, as well as stopping distance.

Tractor-trailer vehicles, due to their massive weight, require a greater stopping distance than a regular passenger one. For example, if the latter would need no more than 300 feet to stop after hitting the brakes, the former would take nearly double the distance — 525 feet more precisely. Speed, mechanical readiness, as well as driver fatigue are also contributing factors to the stopping time, which are the common causes of these accidents.

Where and When the Majority of Trucking Accidents Happen

17. A little over half of all truck-related accidents occurred on major roads other than interstates and freeways.

More precisely, the 2017 report showed that such major roads were the location for up to 52% of all large truck-related accidents. At the same time, interstates and freeways witnessed 32% of such accidents, while only 15% of all large truck vehicle accidents occurred on minor roads.

18. Semi-truck accident statistics show that most truck crashes occur between noon and 3 PM.

In 2014, up to 17% of all crashes during the day would take place at that time-frame, with a total casualty count of 622 people. In 2017, up to 19% of all accidents resulting in 759 deaths were recorded during the same time of the day. This shows the consistency of large truck wrecks during that time of day over several years.

19. Big truck crash statistics show only 16% of all accidents occurring on the weekend, as opposed to those involving all other vehicles — 35%.

Saturday and Sunday appear to be the safest days of the week for truck drivers. In 2014, only 7% of all large truck vehicle accidents were recorded on a Sunday; in 2017, that percentage was 6% for Sunday, and 10% for Saturday, accounting for 663 deaths in total.

20. Thursday is the most dangerous day of the week, according to truck accident statistics.

Back in 2014, along with Monday and Wednesday, these three days of the week accounted for more than half of all accidents, with a total of 1,893 deaths. In 2017, 18% of all truck-related accidents were noted on Thursday alone (745 fatalities), while 34% of crashes occurred on Tuesday and Friday, amounting to 1373 deaths.

Deaths in Big Truck Crashes

21. Approximately 74% of fatal truck accidents involved tractor-trailers, while 27% involved single-unit trucks.

Heavyweight and long braking distances of tractor-trailers are the top reasons for fatal truck wrecks. As compared to single-unit trucks, tractor-trailers are very heavy. A fully loaded trailer can weigh approximately 80,000 pounds.

Moreover, a fully loaded tractor-trailer takes roughly 20-40% more distance to stop after applying brakes. This is about the length of not one but two football fields, thus making truck disasters inevitable. It is because immediate braking is much needed to avoid accidents or minimize the risk of injuries in a collision.

22. Nearly 4,136 people lost their lives in fatal truck accidents in 2018.

As trucks are enormous, most deaths in truck collisions are of the passenger vehicle occupants. And this is evident from the statistic above. In 2018, out of the total 4,136 people who died in the crash, 67% of them were occupants of passenger vehicles, while only 16% were truck drivers.

23. In 2017, crashes involving big trucks resulted in the most deaths in passenger vehicle occupants — 68%.

Out of all large truck-related crash deaths, occupants of passenger vehicles potentially involved in the accidents accounted for 2,797 fatalities (68%). On the other hand, occupants of the trucks accounted for 17%, that is, 683 fatalities, while only 14% of all fatalities were noted among pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists involved in such big truck vehicle accidents (580 deaths).

24. Deaths in semi-trucks crashes account for 11% of all motor vehicle crash deaths.

Motor vehicle crash deaths in truck-related crashes account for 11% of all fatalities in such accidents, i.e., 4,102 deaths. The remaining 89% of deaths — 33,031 — occurring in motor vehicle crashes did not come about from large truck-related accidents, giving out the general impression that trucks may not be as dangerous to motor vehicle traffic in general as they are thought to be.

25. Up to 74.9% of truck accident cases involving a collision with another vehicle in transport have been fatal.

While this is the leading cause of fatal accidents, resulting in the most deaths, collision with immobile objects and pedestrians are just as detrimental. 4% of collisions with fixed objects have resulted in fatal crashes, and the same can be said for 7.3% of all collisions with pedestrians. Fire and explosion are also considered among the most harmful events.

26. Aside from death, tractor-trailer wrecks can additionally result in many difficult injuries.

Those who do manage to get out of large truck crashes alive will most likely be subject to multiple injuries. These often include broken bones, neck, spinal cord injuries, as well as soft tissue and organ damage. Burns is just as common, especially in cases of crash-related explosions, and can be rather serious. The psychological toll on accident survivors may be just as difficult to heal, especially since many accidents can get traumatic enough to leave permanent marks on people’s psyche.

Truck Accidents vs. Car Accidents

27. 48% of truck occupants died in crashes including rollovers, while only 22% of car occupants died in accidents involving rollovers.

Truck occupants experience a much higher death rate in case of rollover than occupants of other vehicle types, mainly due to the specific features of the trucks. 45% of all SUV occupant deaths occurred due to rollover, which is the closest to the 48% of truck crash occupant deaths occurring under similar circumstances. The percentage of fatalities for pickup occupants involved in rollover accidents is a bit lower — 41%.

28. 58% of large truck occupants died in single-vehicle crashes, while less than 50% of passenger vehicle occupants died under similar circumstances.

Single-vehicle crashes and casualties are much more common in semi-truck crash accidents, as the nature of the vehicle brings about multiple risks on its own. Contrary to this, passenger vehicle occupants experienced death in 46% of the cases, with more casualties caused in multiple-vehicle crashes. As for vehicles involved in fatal crashes, only 17% of fatal truck crashes occurred in single-vehicle cases, as opposed to 37% for passenger vehicles. The most common fatal crashes for both trucks and passenger vehicles involved two vehicles — 62% and 45% of all fatal crashes, respectively.

29. 51% of fatally injured drivers in tractor-trailer crashes used their seatbelts, just slightly more than the 49% of fatally injured passenger vehicle drivers.

This still leaves approximately half of fatally injured drivers that were either unbelted or their status was unknown. More specifically, 30% of fatally injured truck drivers weren’t wearing their seatbelts, compared to 43% of passenger vehicle drivers. This leaves 19% of fatally injured truck drivers without firm evidence regarding the use of seatbelts and only 8% of fatally injured vehicle drivers in the same situation.

30. 31% of passenger vehicle occupants die in a big truck accident when hit in the front.

Alternatively, 25% of passenger vehicle occupants die when the truck hits them from the side, while hits in the rear of the passenger vehicle result in only 5% of deaths among occupants. One other type of crash is also known to be most harmful to passenger vehicle occupants — when the front of the passenger vehicle hits the rear of the truck, it results in 22% of occupants’ deaths.

Bottom Line

All in all, you don’t have to be a truck driver to consider semi-truck accident rates or learn more about the most common defects of such tractor-trailers. As it seems, other traffic participants are just as much in danger of said crashes as the specific truck occupants are.

Nevertheless, great strides have been made towards regulating and further securing this industry segment. Rigorous measures, penalties, and other legal provisions have shown a significant decrease across truck accident statistics from the past few decades. Hence, despite momentary spikes in the rate of fatalities or accidents on the roads, it seems like this industry is finally coming to its own. After all, with a worth of more than $600 billion, it is quite the expected outcome. Whether future penalties or new technologies, will make an even greater impact, only time will tell.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. One out of how many traffic fatalities involves a big rig (or large) truck?

Out of a total of 37,133 traffic fatalities in motor vehicle crashes, 4,102 occurred with the involvement of a large truck or big rig. As such, these large accounts for some 11% of all traffic fatalities across the globe, which is nothing to sneeze at.

2. How many accidents are caused by semi-trucks?

Also known as a tractor-trailer or 18 wheeler truck, semi-trucks crash and injure, or kill a person, every 15 minutes in the US. On an annual level, this results in about half a million accidents, with approximately 5,000 casualties per year, although this differs from one annual report to another.

3. What percentage of truck accidents are caused by cars?

According to a study from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, 81% of the time when there was a car-truck accident, the car drivers were assigned the fault. On the contrary, this only happened for 27% of all truck drivers involved in such accidents.

4. How many truck accidents happen annually?

Truck driver accident reports are just one of the recorded forms of crashes that occur in the US per annum. On the whole, about 500,000 trucking accidents are estimated to take place annually.

5. What percentage of backing-up accidents actually involve large trucks?

More than half of backing up accidents, up to 70%, involve large trucks, or similar mid-sized trucking vehicles.

6. What causes most truck accidents?

According to truck accident statistics, a great majority of these accidents occur due to mechanical difficulties, especially those related to tires or brakes. Other than that, most accidents are caused by driver fatigue, lack of information regarding the route, as well as job pressure and aggressive driving.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a Truck Accident contact Dakota Low to ensure you have the legal representation you deserve to fight for your rights and maximum compensation for your injuries. Contact Dakota Low today for a free case review and consultation at 405.601.8899 or use our contact form.

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