A recent fatal crash in Oklahoma, once again, puts the spotlight on the dangerous results when a big-rig truck collides with a much smaller motor vehicle. Every day, these colossal vehicles that weigh several tons criss-cross the highways and roads, hauling cargo throughout the country.
In that incident, a 19-year-old man died on Jan. 28 on Interstate Highway 44 in Mayes County. The teenager lost control of his westbound car on the interstate in the late morning crash. His vehicle left the road, hit a guardrail before re-entering the highway and was struck by a big-rig truck, also traveling west. After impact, the two vehicles left the road.
More than 100 died in Oklahoma truck crashes
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 5,000 people died in crashes in 2019 involving large trucks.
The outcome is not good for other drivers in large truck collisions. An estimated 71% of the people killed in such crashes in 2019 were occupants of other vehicles just like the recent crash that killed the Oklahoma teen. Occupants of large trucks accounted for 18% of the deaths, and non-occupants such as pedestrians and bicyclists accounted for 11% of the deaths.
Oklahoma recorded 101 fatalities in 2019 related to large truck crashes, ranking No. 19 in the country. Neighbor Texas with 652 deaths had the most such fatalities in the nation.
Remain alert and give them space
When sharing the road with large trucks, drivers must remain alert, keep their distance and potentially expect the unexpected to happen. Other issues may contribute to a large truck accident. They may include an inexperienced, drowsy or reckless truck driver, shifting loads and defective truck parts. In another critical NHTSA statistic: Drunk driving among truck drivers contributed to 2% of all fatal crashes in 2019.