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Truck Accident Statistics

how common are truck accidents in the United States?

Truck Accident Statistics

Taking a Closer Look at Truck Collisions, Injuries & Fatalities

The trucking industry plays an important part in our nation’s economy. Commercial trucks such as 18-wheelers remain the largest transporter of goods in the United States. In 2020, the American Trucking Association reported that commercial trucks transported 10.23 billion tons of freight, amounting to 72.5% of all freight that was transported domestically. The trucking industry also transports about 60% of all freight between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. These statistics are hardly surprising given the number of trucks on our nation’s roads.

While the trucking industry is needed to transport goods across the country, it also has a responsibility to do so safely. Commercial trucks are involved in thousands of accidents with passenger vehicles each year and because of their size, they are often catastrophic or even fatal.

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Commercial Truck Accident Statistics in the United States

  • In 2019, there were approximately 510,000 police-reported crashes involving large trucks.
  • There were 4,479 fatal truck accidents in 2019, representing 1% of all large truck crashes.
  • There were 114,000 injury truck accidents in 2019, accounting for 29% of all truck crashes.
  • 82% of truck accident fatalities in 2019 were not the occupants of the large truck.
  • An average of 14 people die each day in accidents with commercial trucks.
  • An average of 433 people are injured every day in the U.S. in trucking accidents.
  • There were 13.65 fatal truck accidents per million people in the United States in 2019, an increase of 29% over 10.6 per million people in 2010.

Fatal Truck Accidents Statistics By State

Below are the 2019 fatal truck accident statistics broken down by state.

Top 10 States with the Most Fatal Truck Accidents

  • Texas – 579
  • California – 355
  • Florida – 311
  • Georgia – 180
  • Ohio – 152
  • North Carolina – 148
  • Tennessee – 137
  • Pennsylvania – 129
  • Alabama – 127
  • Illinois – 125

Truck Accident Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Traffic Safety Facts, 538,000 large trucks (gross vehicle weight rating greater than 10,000 pounds) were involved in traffic crashes in the U.S. in 2019. That year, large trucks accounted for 4% of all registered vehicles and 9% of total vehicle miles traveled.

Common Truck Crash Characteristics

  • In 41% of the fatal two-vehicle crashes involving a large truck and another type of vehicle, both vehicles were proceeding straight.
  • In 10% of the crashes, the other vehicle was turning left.
  • In 10% of the crashes, the truck and the other vehicle were navigating a curve.
  • In 7% of the crashes, the truck was stopped in a lane of traffic.

Most of the fatal accidents involving large trucks occurred in rural areas (57%), during the daytime (64%), and on weekdays (77%). During the week, 72% of the 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 made up 71% of the fatalities and approximately 69% of the injuries that resulted from large-truck crashes.

Truck Accident Statistics: Details & Breakdown

Type of Fatality: Who Was Killed

  • Large truck occupants accounted for 10% of fatalities in single-vehicle truck accidents in 2019.
  • Large truck occupants accounted for 8% of fatalities in multi-vehicle truck accidents.
  • Nonoccupants (pedestrians and cyclists) accounted for 11% of fatalities in truck crashes.
  • Occupants of other vehicles accounted for 71% of truck accident fatalities.

Type of Injury: Who Was Injured

  • Large truck occupants accounted for 10% of injuries in single-vehicle truck crashes in 2019.
  • Large truck occupants accounted for 19% of injuries in multi-vehicle truck accidents.
  • Nonoccupants accounted for 3% of injuries in large truck accidents.
  • Occupants of other vehicles accounted for 69% of injuries in truck collisions.

Truck Accident Statistics FAQ

Which state has the most truck accidents?

Texas regularly has the highest number of fatal truck accidents of any state in the U.S. each year. In 2017, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reported 556 fatal truck accidents in Texas. The state with the second-highest number of fatal crashes was California with 320, followed by Florida with 275.

The FMCSA report also shows the number of fatal accidents involving large trucks, per million people. This shows the accident rate based on each state’s population. Based on these numbers, Mississippi is ranked highest with 31.17 fatal truck accidents per million people. Oklahoma comes in a close second with 30.53 crashes per million people, and Texas is ranked 11th of all states with 19.64 fatal truck accidents per million people.

How many truck accidents happen in the Houston area each year?

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, there were 6,369 total commercial vehicle accidents in Harris County in 2019. This was by far the highest total number of collisions of any county in Texas that year, with Dallas County coming in second with 4,146 accidents.

Of the 6,369 commercial vehicle crashes in Harris County in 2019:

  • 33 were fatal crashes, causing the loss of 36 lives
  • 110 were classified as “suspected serious crashes,” causing incapacitating injuries
  • 409 were classified as “non-incapacitating crashes”
  • 1,084 were classified as “possible injury crashes”

Sharing the road with a semi, tanker truck, or tractor-trailer can be an unsettling experience, and if you drive in the Houston area, you should be particularly cautious around these large vehicles.

Who is most likely to be injured in a collision with a large truck?

When a large truck is involved in a collision with another vehicle, the occupants of the other vehicle are most likely to be injured or killed. Truck operators are at a much lower risk of injury. This can be seen by analyzing NHTSA statistics. According to nationwide truck accident statistics from 2017, only 7% of people who lost their lives in multi-vehicle truck accidents were occupants of the truck. Only 15% of people injured in multi-vehicle truck accidents were truck occupants. In comparison, 72% of those killed in truck accidents in the U.S. in 2017 were occupants of other vehicles. 73% of those injured in 2015 were occupants of other vehicles.

As you can see, your chances of being injured in an accident with a large truck are significantly higher than the changes that the truck driver will be harmed. Smaller vehicles stand little to no chance against commercial trucks that may weigh up to 80,000 pounds.

Contact Our Top-Rated Truck Accident Lawyers: (888) 493-1629

The statistics involved in truck accidents are overwhelming. If you or a loved one is injured in an accident, don’t hesitate to talk to a Houston big rig accident lawyer from Arnold & Itkin. We have a proven track record of success with trucking accident claims and have obtained billions for clients. Our experience and aggressive tactics can help you combat the trucking companies involved in these accidents and pursue just compensation.

We offer free case reviews, so do not hesitate to fill out one of our online forms today. Call (888) 493-1629 now.

Case Results

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  • $12 Million Massive Settlement Obtained for Truck Driver Arnold & Itkin is proud to announce that our firm has secured a $12 million settlement on behalf a truck driver who was crushed by his own cargo—which then led directly to a stroke. The driver, who was 56 years old at the time, now requires costly ...
  • $10 Million Settlement Obtained for Family Affected by Fatal Vehicle Accident Our firm represented the family of two people who were killed after their vehicle was hit by an 18-wheeler running a red light. We were successful in reaching an eight figure settlement on their behalf.
  • $10 Million Settlement Won for Family Against Negligent Trucking Company Attorneys Kurt Arnold, Caj Boatright, and Ces Tavares represented a family who had lost their father in a tragic 18-wheeler accident. He was driving home when a trucker made a dangerous maneuver and caused a massive collision. The trucking company ...
  • $3.2 Million Settlement Reached for Injured Husband & Wife Attorney Cory Itkin represented a husband and wife who were injured after being hit by two semi-trucks. The wife sustained back injures while the husband was knocked unconscious; he needed several surgeries. Our firm was successful in reaching a ...
  • $2.1 Million Settlement Obtained for Truck Accident Victim Arnold & Itkin LLP secured a multimillion-dollar settlement for a man who suffered severe neck and back injuries in a truck accident. Our firm aggressively pursued the case until the defendant settled with our client days before trial.
  • $2 Million Large Settlement Obtained for Grieving Family Arnold & Itkin is proud to have secured a massive settlement for a family who lost their loved one due to the negligence and reckless action of a commercial vehicle driver. Our work will allow our clients to live in financial stability while they ...
  • $1.6 Million Large Settlement Reached for Victim of Severe Truck Accident Truck accident attorneys at Arnold & Itkin secured a sizable settlement for a client who was rear-ended by an 18-wheeler on the highway. Her injuries required multiple surgeries, but the defendants refused to take responsibility. Her $1.6 million ...
  • $1.5 Million Big Rig Accident Victim Received Jury Verdict Arnold & Itkin LLP obtained a $1.5 million verdict on behalf of a client who suffered a torn meniscus when he was bumped by a tractor trailer. We are especially pleased with this result because the defendants accepted no responsibility for the injury ...
  • $1.5 Million Jury Verdict Ruled in Favor of Longshoreman Arnold & Itkin obtained a $1.55 million verdict on behalf of a client who was seriously injured when a yard mule driver collided with the pickup truck in which he was standing. The defendants only offered to settle for $35,000 while denying the ...
  • $1.49 Million Settlement for Man Struck by a Truck Our firm helped represent a client who was severely injured after he was struck by a truck. We helped recover $1.49 million on his behalf.
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