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Truck Accident Statistics

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 2012, the American Trucking Association reported that commercial trucks transported more than 9 billion tons of freight; just over two-thirds of all freight that was transported domestically. The trucking industry also transports about 60% of all freight between the United States and Mexico and Canada. These statistics are hardly surprising given the number of trucks on our nation’s highways and interstates. However, 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 fatal.

Commercial Truck Accident Statistics in the United States

  • In 2012, there were 3,702 fatal accidents involving commercial trucks and buses. Those were responsible for 4,183 fatalities.
  • Using those statistics, that means an average of 11 people die each day in accidents with commercial trucks.
  • In 2012, over 100,000 people suffered injuries in truck accidents (nearly 275 people per day).
  • In 3.5% of all fatal truck accidents in 2012, alcohol was detected in the bloodstream of the truck driver.

Fatal Truck Accidents Statistics By State

Below are the 2012 fatal truck accident statistics broken down by state.

Top 10 States with the Most Fatal Truck Accidents

  • Texas – 491
  • California – 227
  • Florida – 183
  • Pennsylvania – 149
  • Georgia – 139
  • Ohio – 139
  • North Carolina – 117
  • Oklahoma – 108
  • Illinois – 106
  • Indiana – 100

Truck Accident Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Traffic Safety Facts, 342,000 large trucks (gross vehicle weight rating greater than 10,000 pounds) were involved in traffic crashes in the U.S. in 2013. That year, large trucks accounted for 4% of all registered vehicles, 9% of total vehicle miles traveled, 9% of vehicles involved in fatal crashes, and 3% of vehicles involved in injury and property-damage only crashes.

Common Truck Crash Characteristics

  • In 47% of the two-vehicle fatal 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.
  • In 10%, the truck or the other vehicle was negotiating a curve.
  • In 7%, the truck or the other vehicle was parked in a traffic lane (5% and 2%, respectively).

Most of the fatal crashes involving large trucks occurred in rural areas (64%), during the daytime (73%), and on weekdays (79%). During the week, 73% of the crashes occurred during the daytime (6 a.m. to 6 p.m.). On weekends, 60% occurred at night (6 p.m. to 6 a.m.). Occupants of the other vehicle made up 71% of the fatalities and approximately 72% of the injuries that resulted from large-truck crashes.

Breakdown of Statistics

Type of Fatality

  • Occupants of Large Trucks: 691
  • Single-Vehicle Crashes: 427
  • Multiple-Vehicle Crashes: 264
  • Nonoccupants (Pedestrians, Cyclists, etc…): 439
  • Occupants of Other Vehicles in Crashes Involving Trucks: 2,834

Type of Injury

  • Occupants of Large Trucks: 24,000
  • Single-Vehicle Crashes: 9,000
  • Multiple-Vehicle Crashes: 15,000
  • Nonoccupants (Pedestrians, Cyclists, etc…): 2,000
  • Occupants of Other Vehicles In Crashes Involving Trucks: 69,000

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 Houston Truck Accident Lawyers Today: (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 truck 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.

Not convinced yet? Read more about our successes, such as the time we rejected a $5,000 settlement to fight for and win a $1.65 million verdict. Our attorneys can aggressively pursue compensation for you and your loved ones and won’t back down in the face of large trucking companies.

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

Check Out Our Victories

  • $12Million 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 around-the-clock care to carry out basic tasks. The defendants argued that the stroke was his fault—but Cory Itkin was able to counter their arguments enough to compel them to settle. Our client has received everything he needs for a stable future.
  • $10Million 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 ultimately settled for $10 million.
  • $10Million 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.
  • $3.2Million 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 settlement of $3.2 million for the couple.
  • $2.1Million 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.
  • $2Million 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 grieve and heal from this tragedy.
  • $1.6Million 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 settlement will get her the medical care and financial support she needs.
  • $1.5Million 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 and only offered to settle for $5000.
  • $1.5Million 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 existence of an injury at all.
  • $1.49Million 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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