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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration keeps close tabs on crashes involving large trucks and buses, and some of the information is surprising.

The U.S. Department of Transportation also weighs in on statistics for truck crashes in Kentucky, which result from a variety of causes.

A few Kentucky statistics

The U.S. Department of Transportation Analysis Reporting System shows that in 2016, there were 763 fatal crashes in Kentucky. Of this total, 52 percent of the deaths occurred in single-vehicle crashes and 48 percent in multiple-vehicle crashes. An estimated 97 drivers with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent or above died on Kentucky roads in 2016. In addition, 13 occupants of large trucks died that year in roadway crashes in our state.

An unfortunate uptick

Data gathered by the FMCSA shows that while there had been a decline in the number of injuries related to large truck crashes across the nation between 2005 and 2009, there was an increase of 62 percent from 2009 to 2015. In 2015 alone, there were 83,000 crashes involving injuries and 3,598 that resulted in fatalities.

Where truck crashes happen

You may think that most large truck crashes happen on busy freeways. However, in states across the nation, including Kentucky, most of the fatal crashes reported in 2015 and 2016 occurred on rural roads or urban highways. Furthermore, by a wide margin, crashes involving large commercial trucks happened between 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. on weekdays. In 2015, tractor-trailers represented 65 percent of the kinds of trucks involved in fatal crashes.

Why they occur

The population density of any state will have an effect on the number of truck and passenger vehicle crashes that occur there, and the number of fatalities per capita, but there are many other considerations: weather, topography, travel speeds, driver fatigue, alcohol consumption and various kinds of distraction. Ignoring federal or state regulations can lead to a crash that results in life-long injury or death.