You will often see semi-trucks on roads in the United States delivering goods up and down the country. In fact, there are approximately two million semi-trucks in operation at present.
However, semi-trucks are big. That means, unfortunately, when crashes involving the vehicles happen, they can end up being more serious accidents in comparison to other road accidents.
According to the latest statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation, 4,119 people were killed in semi-truck accidents in 2019.
Compared to a decade earlier, the number of fatalities has increased by 31%. So, semi-truck accidents, and semi-truck accidents that result in fatalities, are rising in the U.S.
Why Are Crashes Involving Semi-Trucks So Often Fatal?
Due to the sheer size, weight, and power of semi-trucks, most road accidents involving them do more damage to the other vehicles, resulting in more injuries and fatalities to the drivers and passengers in those other vehicles than the drivers of the semi-trucks.
The reason so many fatalities occur from semi-truck accidents is simple: the vehicles are more dangerous than other vehicles when a driver loses control for whatever reason.
Semi-Trucks Are Extremely Heavy
Semi-trucks that are carrying goods at full capacity can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, so it should not be difficult to imagine just how much damage they can cause.
Even empty semi-trucks are very heavy. They typically weigh around 35,000 pounds.
To put that into perspective, the average passenger vehicle weighs around 3,000 pounds.
So, the extreme heaviness of the vehicles is a major contributory factor in the fatalities that occur from truck accidents.
Semi-Trucks Are Very Long
Semi-trucks are also known as 18-wheelers due to the fact that they have 18 wheels. The trucks are usually 72 feet long.
Combined with the extreme heaviness, it is clear just how much such long vehicles can cause accidents that result in serious injuries and fatalities.
Three Recent Road Accidents Involving Semi-Trucks
Semi-truck accidents can happen for numerous reasons. Let us take a look at three recent accidents in the United States.
1. A Recent Semi-Truck Accident in Grand Prairie
Earlier in March 2022, in Grand Prairie, Texas, a semi-truck approached congested traffic, which was due to construction, and the driver of the truck failed to control the speed appropriately.
That resulted in the semi-truck crashing into three cars. Sadly, the drivers of two of the cars were pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.
2. A Recent Semi-Truck Accident in Mountlake Terrace
On March 12, 2022, a driver was killed after a mattress fell off a semi-truck on Interstate 5. The mattress lay in the road when a four-wheeler crashed into it. The semi-truck then hit the 20-year-old driver’s side door, which caused her death.
So, it is not just the sheer size and weight of semi-trucks that can cause road accidents. Truck drivers need to ensure loads are properly secured to prevent objects from falling into the road and contributing to accidents.
3. A Recent Semi-Truck Accident in Chicago
A few months back, in December 2021, a semi-truck crashed off Dan Ryan Expressway in Chicago. Thankfully, no other vehicles were involved and the driver was not seriously injured.
But the incident is worth noting because the cause was not due to driver negligence or recklessness. Instead, it was the wind that caused the driver to lose control, smash into a wall, and fall into the street below. So, weather conditions can cause road accidents involving semi-trucks, too.