The large trucks on New Mexico roads dwarf even the larger passenger vehicles sharing the same road system. A fully-loaded 18-wheeler truck can weigh in at as much as 40 tons while the typical passenger vehicle weighs around 5,000 pounds, or two and a half tons. When an accident occurs between a semi-truck and a passenger vehicle, it is not hard to guess which vehicle and its occupants are normally the losers.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety keeps records for injuries and deaths from truck-passenger vehicle accidents. In 2018, of just over 4,100 deaths from truck accidents in the U.S., 67% of those were riders or drivers of passenger vehicles. Truck occupants represent just 16% of the total figure while deaths of pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicyclists made up the remaining 15% of fatalities.
Most common causes of truck accidents
A number of factors, in addition to the larger size and weight of trucks, play a role in this large statistical disparity. Large trucks have a greater height and clearance, which results in passenger vehicles becoming trapped or damaged beneath trucks. Also, the large size of trucks results in reduced braking ability, which could increase the speed at which trucks crash into passenger vehicles.
One persistent cause of truck accidents is driver fatigue. According to a Keep Truckin post, information complied by multiple agencies shows that truck driver fatigue is one of the main reasons behind truck accidents. In fact, out of 68,000 incidents with trucks on roads, 12% of accidents resulted from the driver being asleep. The trucking industry often reports that drivers are expected to keep unrealistic schedules, and even bypass laws that are in place to battle truck driver fatigue.
Truck drivers and other vehicle owners alike should remain rested and alert on the road to avoid tragedies.