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Why semi-truck collisions are such a pressing safety concern in Ohio

There is a broad spectrum of the different kinds of collisions that occur on Ohio roads, and semi-truck collisions involving commercial vehicles are often among the worst. A commercial vehicle can very easily cause severe damage to a smaller vehicle and catastrophic or fatal injuries to the occupants of that vehicle.

Such crashes occur in all 50 states and throughout the year, making them unpredictable and therefore hard to prevent. However, some patterns do start to emerge when experts look at the data from years’ worth of collisions. Research that assesses multiple years of crash reports has shown that the risk of a fatal crash with a commercial truck is worse in Ohio than in most of the rest of the country.

What do the crash records show?

There are certainly geographic trends concerning where commercial crashes occur. Based on data gathered between 2015 and 2017 by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), Ohio is one of the ten most dangerous states in the country for fatal semi-truck crashes.

So are several nearby states, including New York, Pennsylvania and Illinois. The states along the routes employed by vehicles traveling from the northern East Coast to the West Coast often experience very high rates of traffic. Ohio is home to major thoroughfares connecting the east of the country to the west and serves as the primary point of access for many drivers who are approaching Michigan.

The high rate of traffic involving commercial vehicles in Ohio is very likely part of the reason why the fatal crash rate for the state is so high. Ohio does not have higher speed limits than other nearby states nor any unusual traffic laws to blame for its high rate of fatalities. It may simply be the desire of drivers in commercial vehicles to cross the state as quickly as possible and the density of such traffic that leads to the elevated degree of risk.

What that risk means for Ohio semi-truck drivers

Commercial drivers can take multiple steps to protect themselves and the public. Complying with traffic laws, including the federal no-text rule for commercial drivers, will help. So will knowing their own limits regarding fatigue and illness. Semi-truck drivers may also need to choose where they work carefully so that their employers don’t pressure them to engage in unsafe behaviors during trips, or treat fleet maintenance like a burden instead of a safety-critical obligation.

Members of the general public who do end up affected by a semi-truck crash will also need to know about their basic rights related to insurance claims and civil lawsuits. Reviewing information about semi-truck crashes can be a smart move for those who want to make traffic safety their top priority. Seeking legal guidance is also a wise move for those who have already suffered harm due to a collision involving a large commercial truck.