Published: June 3, 2016
By: Richard Ogrodowski
While driving on the Pennsylvania Turnpike a couple of weeks ago, I twice encountered the remnants of large tires from tractor-trailers in the middle of the highway. With quick maneuvering, I was lucky to avoid the tires. The damaged tires easily could have caused an accident and were a reminder of the potential dangers drivers face on state roads and highways. This made me think about and then inquire into crash statistics for tractor-trailers in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Interestingly, in April 2016, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (“PennDOT”) released its 2015 Pennsylvania Crash Facts and Statistics booklet . The booklet provides information involving reported crashes involving cars, tractor trailers, buses, motorcycles, etc. that occurred in Pennsylvania in 2015 on the state’s approximately 120,000 miles of roads and highways. The information was collected from police crash reports from the Pennsylvania State Police and approximately 1,300 local municipal police departments.
In 2015, there were 127,127 reported traffic crashes resulting in 1,200 deaths and 80,004 injured people in Pennsylvania, which was the eleventh lowest total for crashes since 1950.
Notably, out of the 127,127 crashes in Pennsylvania, 6,916 involved heavy trucks. This was the highest total since 2011. The booklet defines heavy trucks as including tractor-trailers, single unit trucks, such as coal trucks, and motor homes. Basically, a heavy truck is one that is designed for carrying a heavy load of property on or in the vehicle. There were 130 fatal crashes involving heavy trucks, which resulted in 149 deaths.
As you can tell, despite an attempt by automotive manufacturers to improve safety, there are still a fair amount of crashes and deaths that occur on roads and highways in Pennsylvania involving heavy trucks, such as tractor-trailers.