The average 18-wheeler weighs as much as 80,000 pounds, as compared to the typical passenger car, which weighs around 5,000 pounds. This huge discrepancy in size and weight is one reason why a collision involving a large truck can result in damages that are much more serious than one involving a car.
Greater Property Damage
A commercial truck with a full trailer can weigh up to 40 tons, making it capable of causing severe damage to anything that gets in its way – other vehicles, structures, or people. As a result, accidents involving commercial trucks frequently result in substantial and costly property damage.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), although injury crashes involving large trucks fell 33 percent from 2005 to 2009, they rose drastically to 62 percent from 2009 to 2015. Injuries sustained in truck crashes are often serious and may include:
- Severe whiplash
- Neck and back injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Organ damage
Although trucking companies frequently carry large insurance policies to compensate for the heightened risk of serious injuries associated with large trucks, that amounts is often not enough given that the effects are often life-changing and involve lifelong injury and disability.
Higher Rate of Fatalities
According to data compiled by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), crashes involving commercial trucks account for between 3,000 and 5,000 fatalities each year. A total of 3,936 people died in collisions involving large trucks in 2016, and 66 percent of those fatalities were occupants of passenger vehicles. The number of truck crash fatalities in 2016 was 27 percent higher than in 2009 when it fell to the lowest number since 1975 when fatal crash data collection began.