Rear-End Truck Collisions Analyzed

A semi truck stalled on Interstate 80 at 1:30 a.m., and a man died when his car ran into the rear end of the truck. This I-80 accident, reported matter-of-factly in a Chicago newspaper, was just one of the 70,000 rear-end truck collision accidents that occur in Illinois and the rest of the country every year.

Truck-Striking or Truck-Struck

Rear-end collisions represent 18 percent of truck crashes, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The FMCSA extensively analyzed this type of collision, relying on several years' data. More rear-end truck collisions were of a type where the truck did the striking, rather than being the vehicle that was struck: 42,000 compared to 28,000.

Statistics show significant differences between truck-struck and truck-striking collisions. When a truck was the striking vehicle, 4.7 percent of those accidents resulted in fatalities or incapacitating injuries to a passenger or driver of the vehicle involved in the accident. When the truck was struck, a fatality or incapacitating injury occurred in 8.3 percent of the accidents.

Other Factors

The FMCSA noted that rear-end truck collisions are more likely than other kinds of truck crashes to happen on divided highways, and more than half of the fatal rear-end truck collisions happened on divided highways-like the I-80 accident. The report suggests that drivers are less attentive on these highways so are less likely to notice a vehicle slowing or stopping just ahead.

When another vehicle hits a truck from the rear, the chances of such an accident double in the dark, even with some lighting. Almost half of the fatal truck-struck accidents occurred in these limited visibility conditions, also like the I-80 crash.

Alcohol use was much more frequent among the drivers of other vehicles involved in these collisions than among the truck drivers. In nighttime fatal truck-struck crashes, 36 percent of the other drivers had been drinking. The FMSCA report suggests that a combination of poor visibility and diminished driver attentiveness is especially deadly when a car comes up behind a truck.

The driver killed in the I-80 crash is part of the FMCSA statistics. He was also an individual who likely had a family and friends. If a loved one dies in a car-truck accident, and someone was negligent, survivors may be able to recover damages. Injured persons can also file a claim seeking payment. Retaining a personal injury attorney is an essential first step toward receiving compensation for the loss or injury.