Economic growth has brought one negative side effect to Ohio’s highways: with more semi-trucks on the road, commercial vehicle crashes are also up. According to the Springfield News-Sun, crashes involving trucks, buses or other commercial vehicles increased by 13 percent from 2012 to 2015, and fatalities from such crashes increased by 12 percent.
Meanwhile, national statistics show the opposite trend, with crashes steadily decreasing even as the number of trucks and buses on America’s roads are increasing. Trucking associations say trucking is safer, though others argue that it still isn’t safe enough.
It’s worth pointing out that most crashes with commercial vehicles aren’t necessary the fault of the truck or bus driver. The News-Sun cites a University of Michigan Transportation Research study showing that car drivers were at fault in the majority – 81% – of fatal crashes involving a car and a truck.
As for who’s most at risk, it comes down to simple physics. Since semi-trucks weigh 20 to 30 times as much as cars, the occupants of passenger vehicles are far more likely to be severely injured in a car-truck crash.
So cheer the presence of trucks on the road as a sign of economic growth, but don’t forget to play it safe. Give trucks a wide berth, and remember that they require more distance to stop than you do.