Truck Accident Statistics in the US: 2022 and 2023

Trucking Accident Statistics

 

The trucking industry plays an instrumental role in transporting goods and essentials across different parts of the country. But it is well known that it is a dangerous industry marred by many accidents and injuries.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there were approximately 415,000 police-reported crashes involving passenger cars and large trucks in 2020. Unfortunately, 1 percent of these were fatal crashes (4,444), and 24 percent (101,000) resulted in injuries.

This article will explore the current state of truck accidents in the U.S., including statistics on fatal and recent accidents and the reasons for their increasing frequency.

 

Trucking-Related Accidents and Deaths

 

The NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) released its most recent commercial truck accident and truck-related death statistics in 2020. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reported in May 2022 that 4,014 people died in large truck accidents in 2020 in the U.S.

The report further concluded that out of the 4014 deaths, 15% of the deaths were truck occupants, amounting to 608 deaths. Comparing these figures to the historic lowest figures for large truck accidents in 2009, it is evident that there was a 28 percent increase in truck accident deaths in 2020. There was also a 35 percent increase in the number of truck occupants’ deaths in the same period.

One shocking finding was that in collisions between large trucks and passenger vehicles, the passenger vehicle occupants accounted for 97 percent of the deaths. Therefore, the risk profile for occupants of small vehicles involved in truck and car accidents is significantly higher.

Which State Has the Most Traffic Fatalities?

 

According to the latest figures provided by the NHTSA, in 2020, Texas had the most fatalities, numbering 3,874, an increase from 3,619 in 2019.

California came a close second with 3,847 fatalities, up from 3,719 in 2019.

The third spot was taken by Florida, with 3,331 deaths, up from 3,185 in 2019.

 

What Are the Most Common Injuries Suffered in Truck Accidents?

 

Truck accidents often result in severe injuries to the drivers involved. Therefore, all drivers should try to prevent trucking injuries, obey the road rules, and uphold all safety protocols.

The following are some of the most common injuries suffered by truck drivers in large truck crashes:

  • Back Injuries
  • Burns
  • Concussions
  • Fractures
  • Soft Tissue Injuries
  • Whiplash

If you have been injured as a truck driver, consider reading our truck driver personal injury quick tips.

It is vital for truck drivers of commercial vehicles and truck occupants injured in semi-truck accidents to seek medical attention and consult an experienced truck accident lawyer to understand their legal rights and options around their injury claims.

Major Causes of Truck Accidents?

 

Understanding the causes of truck accidents is crucial for prevention and mitigation. Driver fatigue remains a leading factor. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), fatigue contributes to approximately 13% of truck accidents. Long hours behind the wheel without adequate rest impair a driver’s reaction time and judgment.

Mechanical failures also play a significant role. Issues such as brake failures, tire blowouts, and engine problems can lead to catastrophic accidents. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports that mechanical defects are a factor in about 10% of truck accidents. Regular maintenance and thorough inspections are essential to ensure vehicle safety.

Environmental factors cannot be overlooked. Adverse weather conditions, such as heavy rain, fog, and snow, drastically increase the risk of accidents. Road conditions, including sharp curves and poorly maintained surfaces, further exacerbate these risks. Awareness and preparedness for such conditions can significantly reduce the likelihood of accidents.

Addressing these primary causes through stricter regulations, improved vehicle maintenance, and driver education can lead to a notable decrease in truck accidents. Ensuring that drivers are well-rested, vehicles are in optimal condition, and road hazards are minimized will save lives and reduce economic burdens.

Why Are Truck Accidents Increasing?

 

There are several reasons why truck fatalities and accidents have been increasing. These include the following:

  • Increased road traffic leads to more opportunities for accidents. The growing number of trucking companies and the increasing demand for goods to be transported has resulted in more trucks on the road.

  • The pressure on truck drivers to meet tight delivery deadlines. This pressure can lead to reckless driving and fatigue, increasing the risk of accidents.

  • The use of drugs or alcohol by truck drivers.

 

What Is the #1 Leading Cause of Vehicle Accidents in the U.S.?

 

In 2015, car accident statistics released by the NHTSA revealed that driver error accounted for 94 percent of all car accidents in the U.S. A large percentage of these errors were caused by reckless, distracted, or impaired driving as a result of alcohol or drug abuse. Unfortunately, the data was collected between 2005 and 2007 and may not provide an accurate analysis today.

In 2020, the NHTSA published that distracted driving was responsible for 3,142 deaths in the U.S. 2020.

Things You Can Do To Reduce Truck Accidents

 

Here are the top six steps that companies can implement to help reduce the number of truck accidents and make the roads safer for everyone.

1. Adequate Rest for Drivers

Fatigued drivers are more likely to cause accidents. Companies should ensure drivers have sufficient rest and follow the Hours of Service Regulations.

2. Drug and Alcohol Testing

Implementing drug and alcohol testing for drivers can help prevent accidents caused by substance abuse. Companies should have a clear policy and regularly test their drivers to ensure compliance.

3. Loading and Unloading Safety

Loading and unloading cargo safely is crucial to preventing accidents. Companies should provide training and resources to help drivers properly secure and manage their loads.

4. Promote Safe Driving Practices

Encourage truck drivers to follow traffic laws and regulations, maintain safe speeds, and avoid distractions while driving. Companies can provide training and resources to help drivers develop safe driving habits.

5. Regular Vehicle Maintenance

Regularly maintaining and inspecting trucks can help prevent accidents caused by equipment failure. Companies should ensure that all trucks are in good working order and that necessary repairs are made promptly.

6. Vehicle Technology

Utilizing technology, such as collision avoidance systems and electronic logging devices, can help prevent accidents and improve the overall safety of the trucking industry. Companies should consider investing in these technologies to enhance the safety of their operations.

Been in a Truck Accident?

 

Consider hiring a truck accident attorney if you were involved in a truck accident and have suffered injuries or damages. They can assist you in navigating the complex legal process and ensure that your rights are protected. Some of the benefits of using a truck accident attorney have been enumerated below:

Experience in Truck Accident Cases

Truck accident cases differ from regular car accident cases and require different skills and knowledge. An experienced attorney deeply understands trucking regulations and industry practices, which can be crucial in securing a favorable outcome for your case.

Experience With Insurance Companies

Insurance companies focus on protecting their bottom line and may only sometimes act in your best interests. An experienced truck accident lawyer has dealt with insurance companies before and knows how to negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf.

Representation in Court

If your case goes to court, they can represent you and make a strong argument. They can also gather evidence, build a compelling case, and cross-examine witnesses to help prove your case.

Access to Resources

They have access to a wide range of resources, including professionals in accident reconstruction, medical treatments, and vehicle maintenance, which can be critical to building a solid case.

Help With Medical Bills and Lost Wages

A truck accident can result in significant medical bills and lost wages. A truck accident lawyer can help you secure compensation for these costs.

 

Do You Need Assistance After Being in an Accident?

 

Unfortunately, crashes happen and often when you least expect them. If you have been involved in a car or a truck crash, consider consulting with our skilled and experienced truck driver accident lawyers.

We can help to increase your chances of receiving fair compensation for serious injuries and protect your rights throughout the legal process. Let us assess your case in a free consultation and fight for your cause. Call us today!