As it turns out, the fear of accidents involving semi-trucks and other large trucks is well-founded. These trucking accidents are often perceived as having the potential to lead to serious injuries, even fatalities and according to data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), there is some truth to that perception.
The IIHS recently released numbers that placed Ohio as 10th in the nation for fatal crashes involving large trucks. The numbers were based on 2011 information from the federal government.
In 2011, the latest year for information, there were 3,372 deaths in the United States that involved large trucks. The IIHS definition for a large truck is any vehicle that exceeds 10,000 pounds. This definition includes the obvious semi-trucks, but it also includes cargo vans, emergency response vehicles, and even large-scale pick-up trucks.
In the tri-state area that includes Ohio, Illinois and Kentucky, there were 500 fatalities in 2011 that involved a large truck. This number may seem high but it is a significant drop from 2010 numbers and nationally there was a 12 percent drop in fatal large truck accidents from 2008 to 2011.
This data may mean that safety agencies are making some headway in pushing for large truck safety and awareness. The U.S. Department of Transportation hopes for continued focus on issues like driver distraction and the importance of seat belts to carry on this trend.
Drivers in Ohio and the tri-state area still need to be cautious of large trucks even in light of the improving trend. Interstate I-75 and I-71 remain some of the busiest highways in the U.S. thereby setting the stage for semi-trailer accidents. Drivers should always be aware and alert and know how to get out of an unsafe situation but even the best defensive driving is not always foolproof.
Drivers or passengers involved in a serious accident with a large truck or semi may want to consider their options for recovery. An injured party, or the family of a victim, may be able to file a lawsuit against a liable party to seek monetary compensation for medical expenses, lost wages at work, and even emotional or psychological damages.
Source: WCPO 9 Cincinnati, "Sharing the road with large trucks, dangers persist," Adam Marshall, Nov. 15, 2013