Just Another Mile of Road
There is nothing special about Hamilton Road, in northern Michigan. Its shoulders are wide, like many roads in the area, to help spot deer. The road is kept up and in good shape and lightly traveled.
The truck driver was familiar with the road, having worked for his employer for five years, one-third of his driving career. But, this summer on an early Wednesday morning, for some reason, he didn’t negotiate the above curve.
Perhaps it was a deer in the roadway, springing out like they sometimes do. Perhaps it was something else. We’ll never know because the 36 year-old driver was found trapped and “unresponsive” in his overturned tractor trailer. He was survived by his wife and three children.
Rural-road, Rollover Crashes are the most Prevalent
The DOT’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) was established in 1992 to track all Transportation related crashes. Prior to the BTS, fatal crashes were closely tracked from 1975 onward by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Their findings about trucks (vehicles over 10,000 pounds GVWR) include:
Almost two-thirds (63 percent) of all fatal crashes involving large trucks occurred on rural roads, and 24 percent occurred on rural and urban Interstate highways.
Rollover was the first harmful event in 1 in 20 (five percent) of all fatal crashes involving large trucks and 3 percent of all nonfatal crashes involving large trucks.
Single-vehicle crashes made up 21 percent of all fatal truck crashes, 15 percent of all injury crashes, and 22 percent of all property damage only crashes involving large trucks in 2012. The majority (63 percent) of fatal large truck crashes involved two vehicles.
For truck driver, speeding was the most often coded driver-related factor; distraction/inattention was the second most common.
What do the Numbers Really Say?
One thing we know for sure is that every crash is different. The roadway is different. The vehicles involved are different. And the drivers are different.
Tracking statistical data, however, can point to trends. For example, one insurance company noted that their data showed a lot of limo and bus collisions occurred when the vehicles had no passengers. The implication is that the limo and bus drivers may have let their guard down a little when driving, after making their drops.
A European Truck Accident Causation study found the top 3 main causes for collisions between a truck and other road users are:
1. Non-adapted speed,
2. Failure to observe intersection rules,
So what do the numbers really say?
- Truck crashes are trending upwards. Car crashes, too. Insurance is likely to rise.
- All drivers need to be mindful, not mind-full. Pay attention. Don’t become another statistic.
Thank you for reading this.