Carrier trucks, the kind of big rigs that you see on the nation's highways carrying goods from stopping point to store and back again, are a familiar sight if you spend any time at all on the nation's highways.

Unfortunately for everyone around those big rigs runs the risk of a serious accident just by sharing the road with them. This is what you need to know:

Trucks are a major cause of severe accidents.

Commercial trucks only account for about 8% of all the traffic on the roads in the nation -- however, they're responsible for a disproportionate 11% of highway deaths. Trucks are responsible for more than 4,000 traffic fatalities each year.

But that's not the only significant data that recent studies published by non-governmental sources have yielded: the amount of overall traffic on the road doesn't matter when it comes to outcomes involving fatalities. As a statistical variable, the single biggest factor or influencer that made the most difference in the number of fatalities was simply the number of big trucks on the road -- not the weather, location, nor how many other types of motor vehicles were about. 

While other factors (weather and driver gender) did affect outcomes, they weren't as significant. Only speed traveled per hour by the trucks emerged as a significant second-most important variable -- anytime the vehicles went over 45mphs, the risk of fatalities doubled.

Government research backs up the findings.

There's apparently no private bias on behalf of researchers, either. Data collected by the National Highway Traffic Administration  (NHTSA) showed that fatal crashes involving trucks went up in 2016 by 5.4%. A total of 4,317 people died in truck-related accidents -- the overwhelming majority of whom (72.4%) were the occupants of passenger vehicles caught up in the trucks' wake, not the truckers themselves. This fatality rate is 5.4% higher than it was just in 2015 and the highest seen since 2007.

A single accident can wipe out your business.

If you work for a large trucking company, your company may be able to absorb the costs of an accident -- even one that is severe and results in a fatality. However, if you're an owner-operator, a single severe accident can wipe you out financially. 

There is no such thing as an "average" commercial truck insurance settlement because cases all have unique factors involved. However, it isn't inconceivable for a settlement to fall somewhere between hundreds of thousands of dollars and millions of dollars. If a victim or his or her family can't get the money directly from your insurance, they can go after your business and possibly your personal assets as well.

Simply put, you need insurance -- but not just a random amount of insurance that you think will cover your liability costs. You need to sit down with an agent and discuss options so that you are paying what you need to cover you if disaster does hit but not paying excess -- which hurts your bottom line. For more information, talk to an insurance agent today.