How common are large truck accidents?

Accidents involving large commercial vehicles like semi-trucks claimed 106 lives in Nevada between 2009 and 2013.

Motor vehicle accidents are an unfortunate reality of driving that Nevada residents must be aware of. However, that does not negate the need and responsibility of all motorists to concentrate on responsible driving in order to stay safe. Understanding the scope and nature of some accidents involving tractor-trailers or other large commercial vehicles can help drivers of passenger vehicles maintain an appropriate level of awareness when on the road.

Classification of large trucks

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration identifies that for its record collection purposes, any vehicle with a gross weight exceeding 10,000 pounds is considered a large truck. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the Department of Transportation recognizes eight different classifications of vehicles based upon weight. Vehicles in classes three, four, five, six, seven, and eight all weigh more than 10,000 pounds.

National accident statistics

Records from the NHTSA provide a look into how many people are impacted by large truck accidents. In 2012, 3,944 people died in these crashes. Of those persons, 82 percent were either passengers in vehicles other than the large trucks or not passengers in any vehicle. Another 104,000 people were injured.

In 2013, the number of deaths rose to almost 4,000 and as with the previous year, 82 percent of those who perished were not passengers in any vehicles or were in vehicles other than the trucks that were involved. The number of injuries that year dropped to 95,000.

In 2014, the number of injuries rose to its highest level of these three years at 111,000. Of the 3,903 deaths, 83 percent involved people in vehicles other than trucks or non-passengers.

A view in Nevada

Looking at the NHTSA data over a five-year period, one can see that large trucks do pose a serious risk on Nevada roads. Specific data shows the following:

  • In 2009, 19 people died in large truck accidents.
  • In 2010, 15 people died in large truck accidents.
  • In 2011, 35 people died in large truck accidents.
  • In 2012, 19 people died in large truck accidents.
  • In 2013, 18 people died in large truck accidents.

Even though the number of fatalities dropped in 2012 and 2013 after a spike in 2011, there remains a constant danger of the loss of lives in large truck crashes in Nevada.

Causes of accidents

As with accidents that involve passenger vehicles only, there may be many causes of large truck crashes. In some cases, driver error or vehicle malfunction may be involved. Such was the case in a crash in which a trucker drove his rig into the side of a train along a stretch of Highway 95 near Interstate 80 in 2011. Six people, including the trucker, died. According to the Las Vegas Sun, the National Transportation Safety Board ruled that the speed, driver inattention and faulty brakes contributed to the deadly crash.

When these tragic accidents happen, victims can feel unsure of what to do. Contacting an attorney is recommended. This can provide appropriate guidance from someone who has experience working with commercial insurance companies.