Truck Accidents vs. Car Accidents – Which is Safer to Drive?

Everyone knows that driving can be dangerous.  Even the best drivers can be subjected to drivers who drive too fast , don’t obey the driving rules, drive recklessly, talk on their phones or are intoxicated.  This does increase the chance of even the best of us getting in a car accident.  Most of us hear about car accidents but there are many truck accidents as well.  In 2011, approximately 32,367 people were killed in the estimated 5,338,000 motor vehicle traffic crashes reported by the police department and 2,217,000 people were injured.  What that means is that on average, 89 people die every day in a car accident. That means 1 in every 16 minutes.   That is a lot more startling than I thought it would be.

All over the US, you see SUVs.  Most of the time with one person in them.  People say they feel safer in the larger vehicle.  So that brings up a question?  Does it matter if you are in a truck or a car when you get in a car accident?

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, small or lighter vehicles (such as passenger cars) have less structure and size to absorb crash energy, resulting in higher crash force. So that means that in a car accident that involves a light vehicle v. a heavier car, more body damage will happen to the smaller car.

Here is a catch though.  Pickups and SUVs are higher risks for rolling over. So, it may be a fact that heavier cars are safer, it will all depend on the type of accident involving the truck or SUV.

Smaller vehicles can be crushed easier, run off the road or destroyed by a head-on collision by a heavier vehicle.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis, more accidents occurred with cars than with trucks in 2011:

  • The number of occupants killed in accidents involving: passenger cars (11,981), light trucks (9,272) and large trucks (635).
  • The number of occupants injured in accidents involving: passenger cars (1,240,000), light trucks (728,000) and large trucks (23,000).
  • In 2011, there were 9,878 alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities including drivers with a BAC of 0.08 or higher, 24% for drivers of passenger cars, 21% for light-truck drivers, and 1% for drivers of large trucks.
  • 3,757 of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities involved large trucks (more than 10,000 pounds). Of those crashes, 72% were occupants of other vehicles and 17% were occupants of large trucks. 70% of large trucks collided with other vehicles in transit.

You must take into consideration that there are a lot more smaller vehicles on the road than larger trucks so these numbers may seem larger because of the amounts on the road.  The alcohol impaired driving statistics can be lowered by just calling a taxi, checking into a hotel room if you are drinking too much or having a friend drive.

Regardless of what type of vehicle you drive, please pay attention to what other people are doing, don’t consume alcohol and get in a vehicle and obey the phone and traffic laws.  Though you may think they are annoying, the laws are put there for a good reason and are passed for everyone’s protection.  If you drive a heavy vehicle, it doesn’t mean that the smaller cars have to yield to you.  Lets all be courteous and mindful of others on the road.