The latest statistics available for crashes involving buses and large trucks are from 2016, and they have been made available by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The statistics are quite shocking when you look at the overall numbers. The report released by the FMCSA is divided into four sections: trends, crashes, vehicles, and people. Let’s take a deeper look at the report and the statistics surrounding buses and large truck crashes from 2016, and how the year compares to previous years.
The trends from 2016
The FMCSA provided a summary of the trends from 2016. Data goes back to 1975, which was the first year that Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) data was collected. For crashes involving alcohol, data is only available beginning in either 1981 or 1982 (depending on the topic). Crash statistics for nonfatal accidents are available from 1996 through 2016. Here’s what the FMCSA found:
- From 2009 to 2016 there was a 28% increase in the number of fatal bus and truck crashes. From 2015 to 2016 alone there was an increase in the number of fatal crashes of 6%.
- There were 4,440 buses and large trucks involved in fatal accidents in 2016, which was a 2% increase from 2015.
- Of all the buses involved in fatal accidents from 2006 to 2016:
- School buses accounted for 40% of crashes;
- Transit buses accounted for 34% of crashes; and
- Intercity buses accounted for 13% of crashes.
- The overall number of bus and large truck crashes since 2009 increased to 97,000 in 2015, a jump of 62%. 2016 saw an estimated number of injury crashes of 119,000.
Per the report, between 2015 and 2016, the amount of large trucks in fatal collisions increased by 3% (4,074 to 4,213 crashes). However, the amount of buses in fatal crashes decreased by 14% (263 to 227) – a bit of a silver lining.
The circumstances surrounding large truck accidents
The year 2016 was a terrible one for large truck crashes. Of the 475,000 truck-related incidents reported to police, 3,864 of them involved fatalities and 104,000 of them involved injuries. Roughly 62% of fatal crashes involving large trucks also involved a second vehicle. Of all the fatal truck crashes in 2016, 61% of them happened in rural areas, 27% happened on interstate highways, and 15% fell into both categories.
The study also found:
- Most accidents happened between 6:00pm and 6:00am;
- Most accidents occurred during the work week, as opposed to on weekends; and
- More than a quarter of all fatal work zone accidents involved a large truck.
What all of these numbers can tell us
What can we learn from this data?
First and foremost, we see that incidents involving commercial vehicles are on the rise. As such, those of us who drive passenger vehicles, like cars, SUVs, or pickups, need to be more aware of our surroundings when we’re sharing the roads with big rigs.
Driver error of both truck drivers AND passenger vehicle drivers is a leading cause of fatal truck accidents, and speeding is the most common cause. We need to slow down, keep our eyes on the road, and back away from any truck which seems to be driving erratically. (You may want to pull over and call the number on the back of the truck, too, to report any bad behavior.)
Second, we need to recognize that in a collision between a tractor-trailer and a car, the truck will almost always come out in better shape. The sheer size of commercial vehicles, combined with the force of the impact, could be enough to crush a car. To that end, give these vehicles lots of room when you’re driving next to or behind them. We cannot force a truck driver to follow the rules of the road, but we can monitor our own behavior to ensure that we’re doing whatever we can to stay safe.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a large truck or bus crash in West Tennessee, contact an experienced Memphis personal injury attorney from Bailey & Greer, PLLC today. Call the office at 901-475-7434 to schedule an appointment at our Memphis or Jackson office, or fill out the contact form on our website. If you’re too hurt to travel, we can come to you.