Driving a big rig is challenging at the best of times, but when truck drivers have to negotiate steep inclines and sharp curves, along with paying attention to what the more nimble four-wheeled cars are doing around them, the task can be downright dangerous. In Ventura County, a landscape with varied and often difficult terrain, new truck accident statistics show that it is indeed a dangerous profession, as accidents involving trucks increased from 115 in 2020 to 136 in 2021.
A Concerning Trend
While the number of truck accidents in 2020 was up by only one over the 2019 numbers, the increase of 21 crashes between 2020 and 2021 is alarming. It’s likely that 2020’s numbers would have been significantly more than 2019’s total if the pandemic hadn’t taken a lot of traffic off the roads. In fact, it’s possible that truck drivers got so used to driving on near-abandoned roads when everyone was in quarantine that they became less vigilant and more reckless than they were before COVID-19 hit.
The number of injuries related to big vehicle accidents is on the rise as well. There were 183 injuries connected to truck accidents in 2021, an increase of 33 over 2020’s total of 150. Again, like the number of overall truck crashes, 2020 saw just four more injuries than in 2019, possibly due to less traffic and fewer people out when trucks were traveling. The number of injuries is also worrisome because of the steep increase in 2021. Trucks are heavy and hard to stop, which makes them a significant road hazard for smaller vehicles.
Some Good News
There is some good news coming out of the truck accident statistics for Ventura County, though. The number of deaths attributed to crashes involving semis and other large vehicles fell by 50% in 2001. There were two deaths from truck accidents last year compared to four in 2020. And that number fell by 50% from 2019’s total of eight deaths.
That there are fewer deaths related to truck accidents in Ventura County is a tribute to the excellent emergency services and medical care patients can get in the area. With the number of injuries connected with truck accidents up significantly, one would expect the number of deaths to have also increased. Since this is not the case, it appears that even life threatening injuries were expertly treated.
Injuries Often Overlooked
Of course, we shouldn’t celebrate too much, especially since there were still 183 people who had to deal with injuries from an accident with a truck. Usually, the injuries sustained in a collision with a big rig are much more significant than those people get in a crash with another small vehicle. The weight of the truck and the difficulty drivers have with stopping their rigs mean that anything they strike will suffer a devastating blow. It’s important that drivers of all vehicles understand how their actions can cause or avoid an accident so that these injury numbers can begin to decrease.
Now that traffic levels in Ventura County are back to normal, there are more cars and big trucks on the road than ever before. Drivers of all vehicles need to work together to make the roads safe for everyone.