Truck accidents: by the numbers

Because Edwardsville is nearly surrounded by interstate highways, we understand better than most the dangers posed by large commercial trucks to occupants of passenger vehicles. Enormous 18-wheelers are longer, taller, wider and heavier than cars. Experts say that big rigs are also much more difficult to maneuver and stop.

Though tractor-trailers are much more dangerous than passenger vehicles, they are also much safer in accidents, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says. According to federal government statistics from 2015, more than 3,800 people died in crashes involving large commercial trucks. It will surprise few people to learn that most of the fatalities were passenger vehicle occupants.

Just 16 percent of the deaths in truck accidents were occupants of the big rigs. Sixty-nine percent were passenger vehicle occupants and 15 percent were pedestrians or were on bicycles or motorcycles.

In truck crashes involving just an 18-wheeler and a car, 97 percent of all deaths were passenger vehicle occupants.

One of the most common causes of tractor-trailer crashes: trucker fatigue. Far too often truck drivers pull long hours behind the wheel, and their fatigue shows up in the crash data. A study published a couple of years ago by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that driver fatigue was involved in more than 12 percent of fatal truck crashes.

Inattention and speeding were also major contributors to truck wrecks.

If you have been injured in a commercial truck accident, or have lost a loved one, speak with an attorney experienced in personal injury and wrongful death litigation.