Facts & Crash Data
“Based on their numbers on the road and the amount they travel, large trucks (tractor-trailers, single-unit trucks, and some cargo vans weighing more than 10,000 pounds) account for more than their share of highway deaths. Large trucks have higher fatal crash rates per mile traveled than passenger vehicles, although a higher percentage of large truck travel occurs on interstates, the safest roads. Most deaths in large truck crashes are passenger vehicle occupants rather than occupants of large trucks. The main problem is the vulnerability of people traveling in smaller vehicles. Trucks often weigh 20-30 times as much as passenger cars.”—Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
Oregon Truck Crash Statistics
All data are provided by the Oregon Department of Transportation for 2011, the latest year data are available.
- In 2011, there were 1,928 motor vehicle crashes involving trucks in the State of Oregon.
- Of those, 41 resulted in fatalities.
- 1,037 people were injured in crashes with large trucks on Oregon’s roads.
- 71% of truck accidents occurred during daylight hours.
- 32% of accidents involving large trucks occurred in urban areas.
Dangers of Big Trucks
Fully loaded, a tractor-trailer may weigh as much as 80,000 pounds and can be over 65 feet long. This significantly affects their on-road capabilities:
At 55 mph, a car can usually stop within 130 to 140 feet. A loaded big rig can take 190 to 200 feet to stop, or as much as 450 feet if its brakes are hot from repeated use.
Because of their weight, big rigs take longer to reach cruising speed than passenger vehicles. This obviously makes it more difficult for a trucker to climb hills or rapidly move from lane to lane.
Tractor-trailers have large blind spots in the rear, on both sides and even in front of the cab. The rear blind spot can be 200 feet deep; on the sides, it can extend past the end of the trailer and in front, it can be as far as 20 feet.
Big rigs need extra room to make turns. Drivers often move to the left to make a right turn. Also, on multi-lane roads truckers prefer the middle lane because it gives them more maneuvering options in case of an emergency ahead. Cars can swerve or duck trouble more readily than a large truck.