Truck Accident Statistics
Accidents involving semi-tractor trailers and commercial trucks account for 10% of highway-related deaths with small passenger vehicles. The sheer size and weight of 18 wheelers fully loaded can crush a passenger vehicle, SUV, and light pickup truck.
Were you severely injured in a large truck accident, or did you lose a loved one through a wrongful death caused by another's negligence? The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC can ensure your family receives the financial compensation they deserve.
Call our truck accident injury lawyers at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or through the contact form today to schedule a free consultation. All information you share with our lawyers remains confidential through an attorney-client relationship.
Statistics released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reveal that 4% of all registered vehicles are large commercial trucks, semi-trucks, and box vans. In 2019, over 118,000 commercial trucks were involved in accidents leading to an injury, a significant increase of 5% from the previous year.
Since 2016, the number of large trucks has increased 16% at a rate of 11% for every 100 million commercial truck miles driven annually. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released 2019 crash data showing that 5005 people died in a horrific commercial vehicle crash that year.
Recent Truck Accident Statistics: Crashes involving Large Trucks
The need for more highway transportation trucks has consistently risen over the last few decades, where commercial trucks haul approximately 70% of all products delivered to North American destinations.
However, the NHTSA estimates that trucking fatalities will be the fifth leading cause of death in America by 2030. Other truck accident statistics and facts include:
- Over 500 vehicle crashes involving large commercial trucks occurred in the United States in 2019, the most ever reported
- Most tractor-trailers fully loaded with cargo can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, including the weight of the transported materials, truck, and trailer
- Truckers operate nearly 15.5 million commercial trucks in the United States
- The trucking industry employs approximately 8.9 million people, including 3.5 million truckers
- Commercial trucks are involved in nearly 63% of all two-vehicle collisions, including motorcycles and passenger vehicles
- The number of large truck accident fatalities rose by 3% in 2019 over the previous year
- More commercial vehicle deaths occur on Interstate 10, running from Santa Monica, California, to Jacksonville, Florida, than any other freeway in the U.S.
- In 2018, 36,750 people died in traffic accidents that involved passenger vehicles, truckers, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians
- According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, over 64% of all accidents occur during daylight hours
- Truck accident statistics reveal that approximately 6% of all large truck accidents occur in construction zones, leading to injuries and property damage
- More fatal large truck accidents occurred in February and September 2019 than any other months that year
- In 2018, large commercial trucks were responsible for over 87,500 injuries
- More than 340,000 commercial trucks caused property damage in 2018
- Commercial (large) truck vehicle failure is the leading contributing factor to most crashes, followed by tailgating, evasive steering, and driver fatigue
- Highway statistics reveal that nearly 57% of all large truck accidents occur in rural areas, and 43% in dense urban areas
- More large truck crashes occur during daylight hours (64.12%) than at nighttime (35.88%)
- Nearly 95% of all commercial motor vehicle crashes occur outside work zones
- In 2017, law enforcement cited at least one driver in 32% of all truck fatal crashes after finding who was responsible for causing the truck accident
- In 2017, 372 large truck crashes resulted in a truck accident fatality or the death of passenger vehicle drivers
- Nearly 3% of all fatal accidents involve large commercial trucks transporting hazardous materials
- A lack of training and maintenance results in a disproportionately high number of commercial traffic accidents
- Improper cargo loading beyond height, width, length, size, or weight limits and improperly strapped materials and goods are common causes of fatal crashes involving large trucks
Large Truck Accident Statistics: Fatalities
Federal large truck accident statistics identified road accidents and commercial vehicle crashes as the cause of approximately 65% of all trucker workplace-related deaths every year. Nearly 1100 commercial vehicle accidents occur every day in North America, many involving other vehicles.
In 2019, the number of injuries resulting from large truck crashes increased by over 7%, where 69% of passenger vehicle occupants, including car drivers, suffered an injury, followed by large truck occupants (29%) and others (2%).
- NHTSA truck accident statistics reveal that over 4000 large motor vehicle crash deaths occurred in 2017
- Statistically, over 83% of all fatal large truck crashes occur between Monday morning and Friday evening
- Over 50% of fatal large truck accidents happen on rural roads, and another 25% occurred on interstates
- According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), police responded to about 450,000 large truck crashes nationwide in 2017, including 4237 fatal accidents
- Nearly 75% of all truck collisions with another vehicle occurred when the commercial truck was in transport delivering goods to a scheduled destination
- Nearly 21% of all fatal crashes involving large trucks reportedly had at least one speeding conviction
- Approximately 4% of all large truck crashes involve striking a fixed object
- About 7.5% of collisions involving commercial trucks and buses involve striking a pedestrian
- One report revealed that Thursday is the most dangerous day of the week for truck drivers, and Sunday is the least dangerous day of the week for colliding with other vehicles
- Adverse weather conditions account for only a small number of traffic accidents every year
- About 6.8% of all commercial vehicle fatalities involve rolling over (overturning)
- Less than 2% of all commercial vehicle collisions involve bicyclists
- Less than one percent of all commercial vehicle collisions involve parked motor vehicles
- Approximately 0.1% (1/10 of 1%) commercial vehicle collisions involve being struck by moving trains
- In 2017, fatal crashes involving large trucks caused injury to 148,000 people and killed 4291 truck and passenger vehicle occupants
- Nearly 2.8% of all large trucks involved in collisions end in explosions and fires
- Less than one percent of all large truck crashes involve striking animals
- Commercial vehicle accidents with spilled hazardous materials account for the largest number of burns and other severe injuries in the trucking industry
Most fatal truck accidents occur on interstate highways in rural areas and the nation's primary arterial roads. Statistically, in order, the most dangerous freeways include I-10, I-40, I-95, I-20, I-80, I-70, I-5, I-35, and I-15. In 2017, Texas had the most motor vehicle crash fatalities involving commercial trucks, with 1358 fatalities, followed by GA, PA, FL, and CA.
In 2018, 3139 large truck fatal crashes occurred when the vehicle was in transport, followed by striking fixed (non-moving) objects (388 fatalities), pedestrian collisions (314 fatalities), and rolling over (181 fatalities).
Commercial Truck Fatal Accidents: Truck Crashes with Hazardous Materials
The United States Fire Administration, Food and Drug Administration, and the NHTSA estimate that fire truck crashes are the second leading cause of firefighter deaths occurring on the job.
Other hazardous material truck accident statistics involved in fatal crashes in non-fatal accidents include:
- Nearly 75% of all reported fatal crashes with fire trucks involved another vehicle sharing roads
- Of the more than 31,600 fire truck crashes over the last decade, 49 ended in a fatality involving at least one fire truck occupant
- Approximately 2% of all non-fatal crashes involve commercial vehicles transporting hazardous materials
- About 66% of all fire truck accidents involve rolling over
- Over 70% of fire truck crashes occur when the vehicle is responding to an emergency
- About 60% of all crashes involving placarded commercial trucks had released their hazardous material during the collision onto the roads' surface
- Nearly 63% of all hazardous material released from the cargo compartment in a fatal collision allows flammable liquids, including gasoline and fuel oil, to escape
- Approximately 45% of all hazardous materials released from the cargo compartment in non-fatal crashes involved spilling gasoline and fuel oil at the accident scene
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics recognizes refuse collection as one of the top five leading dangerous occupations in the U.S., with a fatality rate of 33 per 100,000 population
- More refuse collectors die every year than police officers in the U.S.
- In 2017, more than 2425 accidents in the U.S. involved garbage trucks
- In 2017, 107 garbage truck accidents ended in a fatality
- In 2017, 1427 garbage truck crashes occurring in the U.S. led to severe injury
- OSHA identifies operating a lift truck or forklift as a dangerous job that in 2017 resulted in 85 forklift deaths and 34,900 severe injuries
- Nearly 42% of all forklift crashes ending in a fatality crushed the operator when the vehicle tipped or rolled over
An FMCSA study found that inspections identified brake problems on 27% of all commercial vehicles. The study also found that 90% of all truck drivers were unfamiliar with their route or destination.
The study revealed that 10% of truckers felt under pressure to deliver their loads on time. The FMCSA also found that:
- Approximately 7% of the truck drivers surveyed were overly tired due to working long hours on a tight schedule
- Over 3% reported they had tire problems
- Nearly 5% reported that they drove aggressively due to time constraints
- Over 1% reported that they were ill during the survey
- Less than 1% were found to be driving under the influence of illegal substances
- Less than 1% were found to have been driving impaired by alcohol
National Truck Accident Statistics: Speed Limit-Related Deaths
Driving faster than the posted speed limit on a slick or wet road, where the tires can lose traction, can result in horrific accidents when the commercial vehicle slides or hydroplanes uncontrollably, crashing into other vehicles.
Speeding truck drivers are at greater risk of losing control of their vehicle resulting in a rollover or jackknife.
Statistics for speeding large truck crashes in 2017 include:
- 1401 fatal crashes involved the truck driver driving in 50-55 mph speed limit zones (33.1% of all deaths)
- 875 fatal accidents involved truck drivers driving in 60-65 mph speed limit zones (20.7% of all deaths)
- 787 fatal crashes involved truck drivers driving in 70-75 mph speed limit zones (18.6% of all deaths)
Traveling fast creates more challenges to avoid crashes and leads to severe Injury when truck accident crashes occur. Faster speeds lead to over-riding, rolling over, or releasing hazardous cargo onto the road.
In addition to losing control, the truck driver can cause the cargo loads to shift or fall. Negotiating a curve is significantly more complicated when traveling over the posted speed limit, as can hazardous road conditions or switching lanes without seeing other vehicles in the trucker's blind spots.
National Truck Accident Statistics: Leading Causes
World Health Organization data revealed that the number of motor vehicle and trucking accidents increases globally every year. Some data reveals that the trucker's critical errors, unfamiliarity with the roadway, use of over-the-counter medications, inadequate surveillance, illegal maneuvering, distractions, and inattention lead to most truck accidents.
- According to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, less than 26% of all crashes involving semi-trucks are caused by prescription drug use
- About 17% of all tractor-trailer truck crashes involve drowsiness caused by over-the-counter drug use
- Malfunctioning commercial vehicles and truck defects account for a high percentage of crashes on the nation's roadways and highways due to brake failure, blowouts, and tire problems
- Environmental conditions cause crashes, including adverse weather, traffic jams, speeding, and roadway conditions
- Approximately 13% of all fatal tractor-trailer crashes were caused by trucker fatigue
- Nearly 23% of all crashes with 18 wheelers involve speeding
- Approximately 8% of all large truck fatal crashes involve alcohol impairment in less than 3% involve illegal drug use
- Speeding by the trucker or surrounding passenger vehicle drivers accounts for approximately 6.5% of all fatal truck accidents
- Trucker distraction or inattention accounts for 5.7% of all truck crashes, including eating, talking or texting on a smartphone, or using the navigation system
- Approximately 4.5% of all truck accidents were the result of a failure to yield to the right of way
- Alcohol use, illness, fatigue, and other impairments account for approximately 4.0% of all commercial truck crashes
- Careless driving accounts for approximately 4.0% of all commercial truck crashes
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations limit the time truckers can operate their vehicle at a maximum of 14 hours daily, including eight-hour rest breaks between hauls. Truckers cannot operate their vehicle more than 60/70 hours consecutively over 7 or 8 consecutive days.
The regulations required cargo to be spread throughout the truck or trailer bed to ensure a balanced load that will limit the driver's reaction to stop quickly when avoiding or responding to roadway hazards.
Truckers speeding over the posted speed limit have an increased potential risk of crashing into others if they cannot stop in time before striking cars, trucks, bicyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians. Speeding elevates a potential risk of crashing and increases the severity of the victim's injury and property damage.
Truck drivers received training to adjust their speed during adverse weather conditions, including fog, snow, sleet, and rain. Drivers must also slow down during heavy traffic, road hazards, traveling through construction zones, icy or wet pavement, or limited visibility.
Truck Accident Statistics: Injuries
Colliding with a commercial vehicle often causes severe injury requiring long-term hospitalization, numerous surgeries, extensive rehabilitation, ongoing physical therapy, and intense medical care. Some victims are often left with permanent or temporary disabilities. Others die from severe trauma.
Common injuries associated with catastrophic truck crashes include:
- Burns from hot metal, road rash, and exposure to toxic chemicals
- Bruising and contusions
- Crushed bones and fractures
- Dismemberment and amputation
- Emotional anguish
- Internal bleeding
- Internal organ damage
- Lacerations and cuts
- Neck or back injury
- Significant head trauma
- Tissue injury
- Spinal cord injuries
- Torso or rib injury
- Tetraplegia, quadriplegia, and paraplegia (complete or partial paralysis)
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Wrongful death
Large commercial vehicles have a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of more than 10,000 pounds, where even a typical commercial box van carrying goods weighs nearly three times as much as a passenger vehicle. Many crashes involving large trucks result in severe injury and wrongful death.
Don't Be a Statistic. Hire a Truck Accident Injury Attorney to Handle Your Compensation Case
Were you involved in a severe accident involving commercial trucks, or did you lose a loved one through a wrongful death caused by another's negligence? The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC can ensure that your family receives financial compensation for your damages.
Contact our law offices today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or through the contact form to schedule a free case evaluation. Let us provide you with all your legal options on how to ensure your family receives adequate compensation.
We understand that most families do not have sufficient funds to hire an attorney. Our law firm accepts all personal injury cases and wrongful death lawsuits through contingency fee agreements. This arrangement postpones payment for services until after successfully resolving your case through a negotiated settlement or jury trial award.
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