Your daily commute takes you down a number of serious trucking arteries, and you can never shake the feeling that your little sedan is just no match for the semis surrounding it. They're huge, imposing and all over the road.
It makes your commute rather nerve-racking. One small mistake, one split-second decision, and you're involved in a serious accident. Your car is totaled and you're in the hospital, if you're even fortunate enough to survive the crash.
Is the risk really as great as it feels every morning and evening? Or are you worrying about nothing? The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration tracks accident stats, and they put out the data from 2015 -- the latest year for which they've released it -- to show some of the major trends in truck accidents. They can help you see what the risk really looks like.
1. Deadly accidents are on the rise.
In 2015, there were eight percent more deadly accidents than there were in 2014. The 2015 total came in at 4,311. This stat does include buses, along with large trucks. Still, it shows that there is a serious risk of death in these accidents, and things appear to only be getting worse.
2. The totals still haven't approached the peak.
As problematic as the above trend appears, it is still under the peak number from the 21st century, which was 5,231. That high was struck in 2005. However, it's also much higher than the 2009 mark of 3,432. So, while the risks are neither as high or as low as they've been, what is most concerning is that the upward trend means things are slowly working their way back toward that peak from over a decade ago.
3. Injury crashes are also rising.
For a while, it looked like injury accidents were getting less common. For instance, between 2005 and 2009, the stats dropped from 89,000 to 60,000, which it a total drop of about 33 percent. However, the trend did not hold. Between 2009 and 2015, the stats jumped by a full 62 percent, washing out that progress.
4. Property damage accidents are still dropping.
This is the one area in which the stats are still trending down. In 2014, there were 346,000 trucks involved in these crashes, but that fell by 1 percent in 2015 to 342,000 vehicles. This may be a small change, but it's still progress in the right direction.
As you can see, truck accident stats create a complicated picture. While damage is dropping, injuries and deaths are rising. That risk you feel on your morning commute isn't just in your head. It's very real, and it's important for drivers who are hit to know what potential rights they have to compensation.