Recreational vehicles (RV) of all kinds including camper vans, fifth wheels, motor homes and toy haulers are a very popular way to travel and vacation all across North America. RV accidents are a real risk, however, as they are prone to problems such as blind spots, extended braking distance and lack of maneuverability. Federal law requires that all SUVs, charter buses and semi-trucks go through crash and rollover tests but obviously accidents can happen anyway.
There are many common causes of RV accidents; one of the biggest problems is the fact that states do not require that drivers receive special training or permits to drive an RV, although drivers must be 21 years old. Also, 10 percent of RV drivers are senior citizens over the age of 55. This age cohort has increased impediments to driving such as weakening vision and delayed response to driving conditions
Although some of these common causes of RV accidents overlap with causes of car accidents, they are exacerbated in an RV where sheer size plus reduced visibility and maneuverability increase the risk factors for a crash.
A report released by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety administration’s report in 2003 said that more than 70,000 people were involved in RV accidents that year. In 2012, they reported 75,000 injuries due to RV accidents.
A Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) analysis of data between 2000 and 2007 found that a total of 212 people died in RV accidents in those years. At 26 deaths per year, the rate of RV deaths has an average fatality rate of 1/3 of the average rate of all vehicles or 0.44per 100 million vehicles miles versus 1.48 for all vehicles in the US.