Truck Accident Statistics

Statistics can clarify what we already believe or highlight facts and trends we may have had no idea existed. Semi-truck accident statistics are no exception. They are a jarring reminder that we share the road with vehicles capable of inflicting life-changing injuries in just a split-second.

Truck accident statistics show in particular the lethal differences between accidents involving cars and those involving commercial trucks, which can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. The weight, mass, and often-dangerous cargo of a truck all contribute to make them the most dangerous road companions we have.

Commercial truck accident statistics can take a while to compile, as they involve extensive research and data collection. This article utilizes the freshest data to provide you with a picture of the risks and hazards associated with large truck accidents.

Fried Goldberg doesn’t want you to become a statistic. Our truck accident lawyers have compiled the data and facts related to semi-truck accidents in hopes that they’ll help you to avoid unsafe situations. Contact us at (866) 543-8685 if you need assistance with a truck accident lawsuit.

commercial truck accident statistics

The Trucking Industry

Nearly 70% of America’s resources are transported by trucks. These resources account for $671 billion worth of goods annually. The U.S. trucking industry is one of the largest in the world, and the sheer number of trucks helps to create a multitude of jobs as well.

Approximately 15.5 million trucks operate in the U.S., two million of which are tractor-trailers. Just about 8.9 million people are employed in truck-related jobs, with 3.5 million of them being drivers.

However, the large number of trucks on the road and the vast distances they operate across make trucking hazards a daily risk for drivers across the nation. Knowing how, when, and where trucking accidents happen could help you avoid being part of a crash that seriously injures you.

The U.S. Department of Transportation reported on the following truck accident trends for 2016 to 2017:

  • The number of trucks and buses involved in fatal crashes increased by 8%
  • Large truck crashes increased by 5% (from 102,000 to 107,00)
  • The number of large trucks involved in property damage only crashes increased by 3% (from 351,000 to 363,000)

Additionally, the number of large trucks and buses involved in fatal crashes increased in 2017 by 42% from its low of 3,432 in 2009.

In many cases, it is the driver of the passenger vehicle, not the truck driver that is killed or injured due to the size difference between the vehicles. Thus, large commercial trucks continue to present major safety risks to other drivers on the road.

Truck Accident Contributing Factors

Although illegal drug and alcohol use are common causes of auto crashes, a 2007 report by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) found that – even combined – these two factors only accounted for slightly over 4% of fatal accidents specifically involving trucks.

2017 driver-related causes of fatal truck accidents include:

  • Speeding 6.5%
  • Distraction or inattention (cell phone, eating, etc.) 5.7%
  • Failure to yield the right of way 4.5%
  • Impairment (fatigue, alcohol, illness, etc.) 4.0%
  • Careless driving 4.0%
leading causes of truck accident statistics

Truck Accident Fatalities

The daunting size and mass of most trucks make them much more likely than cars to cause fatalities in an accident. Truck accident statistics highlighting the factors behind most fatalities can help you avoid situations in which fatal crashes are most common. Consider the following: 

  • 450,000 crashes were reported in 2017, and 4,237 of them involved fatalities
  • 57% of fatal truck crashes occurred on rural roads, and 27% occurred on interstate highways
  • 83% of fatal crashes occurred on weekdays
  • 30% of fatal work zone crashes involved at least one truck
commercial vehicle accident causes

Vehicles Involved in Truck Accidents

Truck accident statistics from 2017 indicate that large trucks (trucks with a gross weight of more than 10,000 pounds) were involved in 4,657 fatal crashes, 56,422 crashes that caused injuries, and 102,973 crashes that required towaways.

Many trucks also carry hazardous cargo that makes accidents involving them even more dangerous. Hazardous materials were present on 3% of trucks in fatal crashes and 2.4% of trucks in non-fatal crashes. These materials were released from the truck in 16% of fatal and non-fatal crashes. Flammable liquids like gas and oil accounted for 63% of the releases in fatal crashes and 45% of the releases in non-fatal crashes.

When hazardous materials are involved, an accident situation can become even more dangerous. They can create risks for explosions, fires, and chemical exposure, leading to burns and other serious injuries.

We can’t urge you enough to take precautions around trucks on the road, as any crash involving trucks is one that may be much harder to walk away from – for multiple reasons.

People Injured in Truck Accidents

It’s not uncommon for truck drivers to escape trucking accidents relatively unscathed while the passengers of the car they hit suffer catastrophic injuries. Worse, the number of people injured or killed in truck accidents normally exceeds the total number of accidents because more than one person is often occupying the other car involved in the crash.

In 2017, large truck crashes resulted in:

  • 148,000 persons injured
  • 4,291 vehicle occupants killed
  • 470 non-motorists killed (pedestrians, cyclists, other)

The majority of fatalities — 82% — were not occupants of the large truck.

Passengers of the other motor vehicle involved in truck crashes bear the brunt of the damage in most cases. While the size of most trucks makes this statistic unsurprising, it is still a jarring reminder of how dangerous truck crashes can be and the importance of taking steps to avoid them.

commercial trucking accident statistics

Contact a Truck Accident Attorney

No matter how careful you are, a reckless truck driver can cause a crash that devastates your family. Commercial truck accident statistics paint a picture of how frequent and dangerous truck crashes can be.

The truck accident lawyers at Fried Goldberg have dedicated ourselves to helping victims of trucking accidents for more than 100 combined years, and we literally wrote the book on truck accident laws and litigation. Our legal team has consistently won verdicts and settled cases for millions of dollars, and we will fight to do the same for you.
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a truck crash, contact a Fried Goldberg trucking accident attorney at (866) 543-8685 for a consultation, at no cost and with no obligation.

95% of our practice is devoted strictly to lawsuits on behalf of semi-truck accident victims. When you’ve been in a truck crash, we are the ones you should call.

Truck Accident Statistics – Additional FAQs

What percentage of work zone related accidents involve large trucks?

In 2017, 30% of all fatal work zone crashes and 12% of work zone injury crashes involved at least one large truck. A “work zone” is an area where roadwork occurs and may involve detours, moving equipment, and large trucks.

Thus, drivers should exercise extra care when driving through or near work zones. Injuries in such cases can be unique as they may involve obstacles and objects not normally found on the highway. Contact a truck accident lawyer at Fried Goldberg if you or a loved one have been injured due to a truck accident at a work zone site.

What percentage of accidents are caused by trucks?

Roughly 69% of all road accidents involving fatalities involve commercial trucks. This means that large trucks are one of the leading causes of fatal accidents on U.S. highways and roads. If you or a loved one have been injured by a truck, contact us at Fried Goldberg at (866) 543-8685 for a free, no-obligation consultation to determine your legal rights.

How many lift truck accidents are reported each year?

Lift trucks (commonly known as forklifts) also cause a number of accidents each year. While the nature of lift accidents may be different from semi-truck accidents, statistics show that every year there are approximately:

  • 34,900 serious forklift injuries
  • 85 forklift fatalities
How much will a truck accident lawsuit cost me?

At Fried Goldberg, we work strictly on a contingency fee basis for lawsuits. Our fee agreement specifically states that you owe us nothing unless we recover damages on your behalf. If there is no recovery, you will not owe us anything.

What damages does a truck accident lawsuit cover?

Truck accident lawsuits can provide victims with substantial damages award amounts to help them recover financially from their losses. The damages can cover costs like hospital expenses, lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, property damage, pain and suffering, and wrongful death expenses.

The Georgia truck accident lawyers at Fried Goldberg have the experience and dedication needed to litigate complex truck crash cases. If you or a loved one have been injured by a truck, get in touch with us at (866) 543-8685. Getting started is the first step toward a better quality of life.


Truck accident attorneys at Fried Goldberg

The Truck Accident Attorneys

The Truck Accident Attorneys at Fried Goldberg LLC devote at least 75% of their caseload to representing the victims of accidents involving tractor trailers and other commercial vehicles. Our extensive experience with the laws governing the trucking industry is the reason we are routinely successful at taking on trucking companies when someone is seriously injured.



Get a Free Case Evaluation

FG Partners

The Truck Accident Attorneys

The Truck Accident Attorneys at Fried Goldberg LLC devote at least 95% of their caseload to representing the victims of accidents involving tractor trailers and other commercial vehicles. Our extensive experience with the laws governing the trucking industry is the reason we are routinely successful at taking on trucking companies when someone is seriously injured.

Get a Free Case Evaluation

Get a Free Case Evaluation

Use the form to send your message to a lawyer at our firm. One of our experienced attorneys is prepared to speak with you. Consultations are free and confidential.

Call Us 24/7
(877) 591-1801

Get a Free Case Evaluation

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

US Map

Millions Recovered

US Map

Our experienced attorneys have represented individuals who have been seriously injured. We are proud of the outstanding reputation we have within our industry and our track record of success, which sets us apart. In particular, we have recovered nearly $1 billion for our clients throughout the country.

red 100 percent$30 million+
red 60 percent $11-$30 million
red 30 percent $1-$10 million
chat icon