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Are Trucks Safer Than Cars in a Crash?

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When deciding on the best type of car for you and your family, safety is a major factor to consider. It makes sense to choose a vehicle that offers your loved ones the most protection. It’s become more common for people to believe that the bigger the vehicle is the better protected you are. But, in reality, are trucks safer than cars in a crash? 

The Differences Between a Truck and a Car

There’s an obvious difference in size between a truck and car. However, there are other important differences to note, including:

  • Price. On average, trucks cost more to buy compared to a non-luxury car. 
  • Gas mileage and fuel efficiency. With gas prices on the rise, truck drivers are looking at spending more money to fill up their tank since trucks have an average fuel economy of 17.50 miles per gallon (compared to cars with an average fuel economy of 24.20 miles per gallon) 
  • Cargo and towing. One of the major differences in the two types of vehicles is the ability to store and move large objects.  It’s true that some non-trucks have ample cargo room and towing capabilities but very few hold up to the potential capacity of a truck.

Of course, how safely a vehicle can get you from Point A to Point to B is most important. When comparing small and large vehicles, the data makes the differences obvious: large trucks, pick-ups and sports utility vehicles (SUVs) are at a higher risk for crashing.

What Makes Trucks More Dangerous?

From commercial semis to pick-ups, trucks pose a unique safety risk because they put people inside the vehicle and other drivers on the road at a higher risk for injury or death in the event of a crash. 

Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) shows that semi truck accidents are on the rise. Their most recent report found that the number of truck accidents per year involving fatalities increased by 13% from 2020 to 2021. With more than 5,000 accidents resulting in fatalities, it’s important to be aware of the features that make trucks more dangerous. 

For starters, even if you are inside a large truck, it does not mean you are necessarily safe. The most recent SUV rollover statistics show that these types of vehicles are most prone to rollover accidents due to their narrow, tall build.

Beyond that, the design of many trucks makes them especially dangerous for pedestrians. According to California car accident statistics, pedestrian deaths account for 25.6% of all state traffic fatalities. While truck drivers have a higher vantage point, they still have a much harder time seeing those walking, running or riding bikes compared to other motorists. 

point of view of a driver behind a semi-truck

What Causes Truck Accidents

Despite the difference in their build, trucks and cars are involved in accidents for similar reasons. 

Most commonly, this includes:

  • Negligent driving. Whether it’s driver fatigue, distracted driving or texting and driving, a driver who is not paying full attention puts everyone on the road at risk. 
  • Inclement weather conditions. Car accidents caused by rain and other forms of severe weather are more common and more serious than many people realize. It decreases overall visibility and can make small driving errors have disastrous results. 
  • Driving under the influence.  Operating any type of vehicle under the influence poses a significant risk to yourself and to others. However, the law recognizes there’s an increased risk when it’s a truck driver who is under the influence. For regular motorists, the legal blood-alcohol count (BAC) is 0.04%, but for commercial truck drivers, it is half that at 0.08%

What To Do If You Are in a Truck or Car Accident

Knowing the answer to “are trucks safer than cars in a crash?” does not protect you from harm. While it’s true that some types of vehicles pose a greater risk than others, there’s always the potential for accidents and injury when you’re on the road. If you are injured in a truck or car accident, Avrek Law may be able to help. 
With more than 50 years of combined experience resolving cases in favor of clients who were wrongfully injured, Avrek Law has recovered more than $1 billion in compensation for injury victims in more than 45,000 cases. Contact us for your free consultation to learn more!

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