In the state of Texas, on average about 15,000 accidents involving commercial trucks, or semis, occur each year. About 2,300 of these accidents result in serious injuries. Additionally, between 250 and 300 people die in traffic collisions involving big rigs each year.
Some different tactics are being explored to reduce the number of accidents involving commercial trucks, in Texas and across the United States. One strategy that can lower the number of 18-wheeler accidents is installing more roadway lighting and improving the lighting that currently exists on streets and highways.
General Facts About Nighttime Driving
75% of miles driven in Texas, and elsewhere in the United States, occur during daylight hours. Only 25% of driving happens in the darkness of night. With that noted, the nighttime fatality rate is three times greater than that in the daytime. Accidents involving serious injuries spike upwards at a similar rate on dark, nighttime roadways.
Operating a big rig truck, or any other type of motor vehicle is primarily a visual task. Lack of light significantly diminishes a driver’s ability to identify roadway obstacles, observe other drivers, and operate a vehicle, including a commercial truck, in the safest possible manner.
Roadway Safety and the Addition of Lights
The U.S. Department of Labor has aggregated some studies that underscore the significant safety benefits associated with installing or improving, lighting on roadways. These studies report that addition of lighting on highways can reduce collisions upwards to 50%.
Also, these studies indicate that the incidence of fatal accidents is cut almost in half with the installation of better lights on the highways.
These studies have been conducted not only in the United States but other countries around the world. The results have been similar, all showing a reduction in accidents when roadway lighting is in place.
Cost-Effective Safety Enhancement
There do exist other strategies that can be employed to reduce the incidence of nighttime accidents involving commercial trucks. These include everything from actual road design alterations to enhanced monitoring of drivers.
In the final analysis, the addition of roadway lighting proves to be the most cost-effective alternative.
For example, road reconstruction and reconfiguration is highly costly. The net effect of this type of effort does not yield the same reduction in collisions as does lighting installation, which itself is significantly less expensive.
Better or more enhanced monitoring of drivers might prove cheaper than light installation. However, the reduction in collisions through this type of effort does not rise to the level of what achieved through with roadway lighting.