Fatal Crashes with Trucks Down, Injuries Up
Tuesday, September 20, 2016By Richard Alexander
Large trucks are generally defined as those with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds. That’s unloaded. Loaded, tractor trailers can weigh far more—up to 80,000 pounds. Contrast that with a typical passenger car, which weighs in around 3,000 pounds. A battle between these contestants is no battle at all.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) tries to “reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks and buses.” To do this, it gathers statistics about the number and severity of crashes that involve commercial motor vehicles.
Collisions fall into one of three categories: property damage only, injury, or fatal. The least severe of the group is property damage only, also known as “PDO crashes.” An accident is only placed into this category if no one is hurt. A fatal crash includes any motor vehicle accident “in which at least one person dies within 30 days of the crash.” An injury crash includes any accident in which at least one person was possibly injured.
The FMCSA reports that that large truck crashes have increased substantially over the last few years. Both PDO and injury crashes increased in 2014. However, fatal crashes involving large trucks dropped by about 4%.
In California, both the number of fatalities and the fatality rate for large truck and bus crashes increased. In 2013, there were 295 fatalities; in 2014, the number of fatalities rose to 324.