You may get a little nervous sharing the road with large commercial vehicles. Big rigs, in particular, are intimidating when traveling at high speeds.
The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute statistics reveal the risk. Commercial vehicle crashes, fatalities, injuries and property damage are on the rise.
Looking at the numbers
The five-year trend is not good. In 2017, commercial vehicles on Indiana roads were part of:
- 16,910 crashes, up 5.4 percent from 13,717 in 2013
- 130 fatalities, up 6.5 percent from 101 in 2013
- 2,074 injuries, up 2.8 percent from 32,852 in 2013
- 14,706 property damage accidents, up 5.7 percent from 11,761 in 2013
The increase in each category tops statewide rates for the same period. Commercial vehicles in 2017 made up 8 percent of crashes, but 16 percent of fatalities.
Highways were the most dangerous places of all. State roads, U.S. highways and interstates saw 87 percent of fatal crashes.
Looking at what causes accidents
All motorists must share the road, and truckers bear an extra responsibility. Their rigs, because of their size, pose a risk to occupants of smaller vehicles.
Two primary causes of truck accidents are speeding or driving too fast for conditions. Other causes are distracted driving, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or not giving surrounding vehicles enough room.
Some causes are not the fault of drivers. Fatigue leads to many trucking accidents, but sometimes truckers are under pressure to meet unrealistic delivery schedules. Employers also can bear responsibility when training is inadequate or when truck maintenance is poor.
Looking at your situation
Even if you are careful, your 3,000-pound car is at the mercy of the trucker behind the wheel of a loaded, 80,000-pound big rig. You are going to get the worst of any collision.
A trucker is not going to admit she or he was at fault in an accident, that person wants to protect her or his livelihood. You have the right to protect yourself and your family, too.