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Jonathan Rosenfeld
J.D

June 23, 2023

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Truck accident statistics reveal that these crashes are among the most catastrophic incidents on our roads, often resulting in severe injuries and fatalities. Large trucks’ sheer size and weight, such as semi-trucks and tractor-trailers, can cause devastating damage, particularly when a truck collides with smaller passenger vehicles.

Were you hurt in an accident involving a large commercial truck?

The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC represent victims in dangerous and fatal crashes involving large trucks.

Contact a Chicago truck accident lawyer at (888) 424-5757 or use the online form to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.

Truck Accident Statistics

Brief Overview of Truck Accidents

Large truck crashes are a significant traveling concern, given these vehicles’ size and weight.

The trucking industry is vital to the U.S. economy, delivering 71% of all freight annually and employing more than 5% of full-time employees.

Commercial trucks remain the largest transporter of goods in the United States.

Around 4,600 fatal accidents involve large truck drivers yearly, and about 182,000 people suffer injuries in crashes with large trucks and buses.

Across the United States, approximately 3.36 million truck drivers are working tirelessly to deliver goods nationwide.

Truckers operating tractor-trailers are predominantly male, with women making up only 9% of the workforce.

The average age of large truck drivers is 48, increasing yearly due to the ongoing truck driver shortage.

Texas employs the most truck drivers, followed by California and Pennsylvania.

Importance of Understanding Truck Accident Data

Understanding truck accident data is crucial in identifying trends, causes, and potential preventative measures.

For instance, around 4,600 fatal accidents involve large truck drivers each year, and about 182,000 people are injured in injury crashes with large trucks and buses.

These numbers highlight the significant risk of large trucks on our roads and the need for adequate safety measures.

Data showing increased accidents due to driver fatigue could lead to stricter regulations on driving hours to minimize crashes into passenger vehicle drivers.

Similarly, if a particular state or region has a high incidence of large truck accidents, targeted enforcement and education efforts could be implemented in those areas where the truck accidents happen.

Commercial Truck Accident Statistics

The rise in truck wrecks involving colliding with passenger vehicle drivers can be attributed to various factors, including increased road traffic, driver fatigue, and distractions.

In 2018, large trucks accounted for 112,000 injury crashes and 414,000 property damage-only crashes.

This represents a significant increase from previous years and highlights the growing issue of truck safety on our roads.

Over the years, the increase in trucking accidents underscores the need for effective safety measures and regulations to protect all road users.

Fatalities and Injuries Caused by Truck Accidents

Often, when most truck accidents happen, they result in severe injuries and fatalities due to the large size and weight of the vehicles involved.

In 2018, 4,136 people died in large truck fatal crashes, a figure 31% higher than in 2009, when truck fatalities were the lowest ever recorded.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 38,680 occupants in passenger vehicles died in crashes in 2020, the highest projected number of fatalities since 2007.

This represents an increase of about 7.2% compared to the 36,096 fatalities reported in 2019.

This percentage also includes car accident statistics involving commercial vehicles.

The fatality rate for 2020 was 1.37 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT), up from 1.11 deaths per 100 million VMT in 2019.

Comparison of Truck Accidents with Other Vehicle Accidents

Large motor vehicle crashes often have more severe consequences than vehicle accidents involving passenger car drivers.

The size and weight of loaded tractor-trailers and other commercial trucks can cause extensive damage to other vehicles and devastating injuries and fatalities.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, big rigs weighing more than 10,000 pounds accounted for 14% of motor vehicle crash deaths in 2018 despite making up only 4% of all registered vehicles.

In addition, almost 20% of injury-causing crashes involving large trucks occurred at intersections.

Why Truck Accident Statistics Matter

Understanding truck accident statistics is crucial for both policy-making and public awareness.

These statistics provide insights into these accidents’ frequency, causes, and consequences, informing strategies to reduce their occurrence and impact.

They also highlight the importance of safe driving practices and adherence to regulations among truck drivers.

Recent Truck Accident statistics

Big rig accident statistics paint a sobering picture of road safety.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in 2019, large trucks were involved in 11% of all motor vehicle crash deaths.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), in 2018, 499,000 police-reported crashes with large trucks were involved in the United States.

Of these, 4,415 (1%) were fatal, and 107,000 (21%) resulted in injury.

The Rising Tide of Large Truck Accidents

Truck crashes have been on an upward trend over the years.

The FMCSA reports that the number of large trucks involved in fatal crashes increased by 1% from 2016 to 2017.

This trend underscores the urgent need for effective interventions to enhance road safety.

The Causes and Characteristics of Truck Accidents

Truck wrecks can be caused by various factors, including fatigue, distracted driving, and driving under the influence.

Truck drivers drive an estimated 140 billion miles every year and work longer hours than average workers in America, contributing to fatigue-related crashes.

Distracted driving, such as using a cell phone while driving, is another significant cause of truck crashes.

About 32% of truck crashes occur outside the truck’s lane, in other lanes, or off the road, often due to distractions or loss of vehicle control.

Characteristics of Truck Accidents

Truck wrecks often have unique characteristics due to the vehicles’ size and weight (gross vehicle weight rating).

Data from the National Crash Report Sampling System reveals that in 41% of fatal 2-vehicle crashes involving a truck and another vehicle, both drove straight.

In 10% of crashes involving large trucks happen when one or more passenger cars turn left.

In 10% of crashes, the truck and the other vehicle navigated a curve.

In 7% of hits, the truck was stopped in a traffic lane.

Most fatal accidents involving large trucks occurred in rural areas (57%), during the daytime (64%), and on weekdays (77%).

During the week, 72% of the fatal large truck crashes occurred during the daytime (6 am to 6 pm).

On weekends, 61% occurred at night (6 pm to 6 am).

Occupants of the other vehicle comprised 71% of the fatalities and approximately 69% of the injuries resulting from large-truck crashes.

The Impact of Large Truck Crashes

While truck occupants are less likely to be injured or killed in a severe accident compared to occupants of other vehicles, they still face significant risks.

In 2019, large truck occupants accounted for 10% of single-vehicle truck wrecks and 8% of fatalities in multi-vehicle truck wrecks.

Similarly, large truck occupants accounted for 10% of injuries in single-vehicle truck collisions and 19% in multi-vehicle truck wrecks.

Impact on Other Road Users

The impact of truck wrecks on other road users is significant.

In 2019, 82% of truck crash fatalities were not the occupants of the big rig.

Occupants of other vehicles accounted for 71% of truck crash fatalities and 69% of injuries in truck collisions.

These statistics highlight the disproportionate impact of large truck crashes on passenger vehicle occupants and underscore the need for adequate safety measures to protect all road users.

Impact on the Trucking Industry

Truck accidents also have a significant impact on the trucking industry.

Each accident can incur substantial costs, including property damage, medical expenses, and potential legal liabilities.

Additionally, accidents can lead to increased insurance premiums and damage trucking companies’ reputations.

Therefore, promoting safety and preventing accidents is crucial not only for protecting lives but also for the sustainability of the trucking industry.

Commercial Truck Accident Statistics in the U.S.

Understanding the broader picture of commercial truck wrecks in the U.S. is essential.

  • Number of Fatalities: In 2019, there were 36,096 fatalities in motor vehicle traffic crashes. This represents a decrease of 739 (down 2%) from the reported 36,835 fatalities in 2018, even though vehicle miles traveled (VMT) increased by 0.8%.
  • Fatalities in Motor Vehicles: Motor vehicle occupant fatalities decreased by 630 (2.8% decrease) in 2019 compared to 2018.
  • Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities: Alcohol-impaired driving fatalities decreased by 568 (5.3% decrease) in 2019, reaching the lowest percentage since 1982.
  • Urban Fatalities: Urban fatalities decreased by 813 (4% decrease) in 2019 compared to 2018.

Interesting Truck Accident Statistics Based on the Fatality Analysis Reporting System

The Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) provides a wealth of data on fatal truck accidents, offering insights into the causes, locations, and outcomes of these incidents.

  • Decrease in Fatalities: Traffic deaths decreased nationwide during 2019 compared to 2018, and alcohol-impaired driving fatalities decreased to the lowest percentage since 1982, when NHTSA started reporting alcohol data.
  • Decrease in Pedestrian and Bicyclist Fatalities: There were 169 fewer pedestrian fatalities (2.7% decrease) and 25 fewer bicyclist fatalities (2.9% decrease) in 2019 compared to 2018.

Large Truck Fatal Crashes and Injuries

Large truck accidents often result in severe injuries and fatalities.

The following are some notable incidents that highlight the devastating impact of these accidents:

  • Fatalities in Single-Vehicle Wrecks: In 2019, large truck occupants accounted for 10% of fatal truck accidents.
  • Fatalities in Multi-Vehicle Wrecks: In the same year, large truck occupants accounted for 8% of deaths in multi-vehicle fatal truck accidents.
  • Injuries in Single-Vehicle Crashes: Large truck occupants accounted for 10% of injuries in single-vehicle truck crashes in 2019.
  • Injuries in Multi-Vehicle Crashes: They also accounted for 19% of injuries in multi-vehicle truck collisions.

Role of Aggressive Driving in Truck Accidents

Aggressive driving is a significant factor in many semi-tractor trailer accidents, including speeding, tailgating, and other dangerous behaviors.

Speeding contributed to 26% of all traffic fatalities in 2017, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Impact of Alcohol and Drugs on Truck Accidents

Alcohol and drugs can significantly impair a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle safely.

According to NHTSA [1], in 2017, 30% of all drivers involved in fatal crashes during the weekend were drunk, compared to 15% on weekdays.

According to FMCSA, 6% of large truck drivers in fatal crashes tested positive for at least one drug in 2018.

Effect of Driver Fatigue on Truck Accidents

Driver fatigue is a significant issue in the trucking industry, with many drivers working long hours and often at night.

According to a study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), 13% of commercial motor vehicle drivers were considered fatigued at the time of their crash.

Truck Crash Data Based on Vehicle Type

Different types of trucks have different accident rates.

For example, semi-trucks have a higher accident rate than other types of trucks due to their size and weight.

Semi-trucks are involved in a significant number of accidents each year.

Each year, around 4,600 fatal accidents involving semi-truck drivers occur.

According to FMCSA, in 2017, 4,889 commercial trucks and buses were involved in fatal crashes, a 9% increase from 2016.

Tanker Truck Crash Statistical Data

Tanker trucks, which carry liquids or gases, can be hazardous in an accident due to the potential for spills or explosions.

According to FMCSA, in 2017, 5,096 big rigs were involved in fatal crashes.

Single Unit Truck Crash Statistical Data

Single-unit trucks, including delivery and moving trucks, also have many yearly accidents.

According to FMCSA, in 2017, there were 3,864 fatal crashes involving large trucks.

Truck Accident Statistical Data Based on Location

The location of trucking accidents can significantly impact their severity and outcome.

For example, accidents on highways or in rural areas can be more severe due to higher speeds and longer response times for emergency services.

Rural and Urban Truck Crash Statistical Data

Rural areas see a significant number of big rig wrecks, often due to factors such as higher speeds and less traffic enforcement.

According to FMCSA, in 2017, more than half of all fatal truck accidents occurred in rural areas.

Often, truck accidents happen in urban areas due to heavy traffic and complex road layouts.

According to FMCSA, in 2017, 43% of all fatal truck crashes occurred in urban areas.

Interstate Highway Statistics

Interstate highways are a common location for truck wrecks due to the high speeds and large volume of truck traffic.

According to FMCSA, in 2017, 27% of all fatal truck crashes happened on interstate highways.

Truck Accident Statistics Based on Time of Day

The time of day can also significantly impact the likelihood and severity of truck wrecks.

Daytime Truck Accident Statistics

Daytime hours see many truck wrecks, often due to heavy traffic and increased road activity.

According to FMCSA, in 2017, 49% of all fatal truck collisions occurred during the daytime hours.

How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help in a Truck Accident Case?

Have you been a victim of a truck crash?

Was your loved one injured in a collision involving a large truck?

At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our personal injury attorneys understand the complexities of truck crash cases and are committed to helping you navigate the legal process.

Free Consultation

We offer a free consultation to discuss your case, understand your situation, and explain how we can help.

We work on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t pay unless we win your case.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck crash, contact us at (888) 424-5757.

Our team is ready to help you seek the justice and compensation you deserve.

Resources: [1] NHTSA

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