Furthermore, in 2019, 97% of the people killed in accidents involving semi-trucks were occupants of passenger vehicles. That works out to 2,132 reported deaths.
In the same year, 72 truck drivers died, making up just 3% of total fatalities.
In semi-truck crashes, injuries are even more prevalent than fatalities. According to National Safety Council data, in 2019, 118,000 big rigs were involved in injury-related crashes. Most of those injuries affected the occupants of passenger vehicles.
The percentage of accidents caused by trucks is increasing steadily. There are more semi-trucks and semi-truck crashes than ever before. Trucking companies are hiring less-experienced drivers to cut costs and incentivizing or threatening them to work longer hours.
These are dangerous practices that directly cause tens of thousands of injuries and deaths each year. If you or a loved one were injured in a crash with a big rig, it’s important that you work to hold the negligent driver or company accountable.
Call our Kansas City truck accident firm to get started on your case.
Percentage of Accidents Caused by Commercial Trucks in Kansas City
According to data from the Missouri Department of Transportation (MODOT), in 2018, 12 people were killed in accidents involving commercial trucks in Kansas City. Those fatalities make up a large portion of the total number of fatalities in Kansas City, which clocked in at 83 in 2018.
In the same year, 33 people were seriously injured in tractor trailer crashes, more than in 2016 and 2017. Experts predict that these numbers will continue to rise in coming years and as more data becomes available.
Why are truck accidents so serious?
If you’ve ever driven beside a tractor-trailer, you probably understand why semi-truck accidents are so deadly. It boils down to three things: size, maneuverability, and stopping distance.
According to Summit Truck Group, the average semi-truck is 72 feet long, 13.5 feet tall, 8.5 feet wide, and weighs up to 80,000 pounds. Compare those numbers with measurements of the average passenger vehicle (14.7 feet long, 5.8 feet wide, 3,300 pounds) and it’s easy to see why passengers are at the mercy of the semi-truck in the event of a crash.
Those incompatible figures create a strong risk of serious injury or death among the occupants of passenger vehicles.
Maneuverability is another important factor in big rig accidents. Thanks to their size, semi-trucks are simply unable to avoid obstacles as quickly as passenger vehicles. A small car needs a radius of about 25 feet to make a full turn; a semi-truck needs more than twice that amount.
Tractor-trailers are also prone to “jack-knifing,” which occurs when the driver stops or turns suddenly, creating momentum in the trailer that flings it to the side of the cab, creating a ‘V’ or jack-knife shape.
Lastly, semi-trucks need significantly more stopping distance than passenger vehicles. Where an average-size car needs about 300 feet to make a safe stop, big rigs need closer to 600 feet. On busy highways and other areas with congested traffic, one car stopping or slowing down in front of a semi-truck could lead to a deadly crash.
Preventing Future Truck Accidents
Measures must be taken to protect Missourians on the road. After being in a crash, one of the most important ways to protect yourself and others is by exploring your legal options and being proactive with litigation. An experienced attorney can help you hold the negligent truck driver or trucking company accountable for their actions.
Litigation can help prevent future wrecks by getting the negligent driver off the road. If you were injured in a truck accident, don’t wait or hesitate to speak with an attorney.
Time is of the essence; call Langdon & Emison today at (816) 793-8867.