Truck Accident Statistics

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Statistics can clarify what we already believe or highlight facts and trends we may have had no idea existed. 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.

Fried Goldberg LLC 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.

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.

If you’ve been hurt in a truck accident, contact us to schedule a free consultation.

2020 large truck accident statistics

The trucking industry

Nearly 70% of America’s resources are transported by trucks. These resources account for trillions of dollars’ 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 38.9 million trucks operate in the U.S., four million of which are Class 8 trucks (including tractor-trailers and straight trucks). Just about 7.9 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.

Truck Accident Statistics FAQ

Truck accident trends

The U.S. Department of Transportation reported on the following truck accident trends for 2019 to 2020:

  • The number of fatal crashes involving large trucks or buses decreased by 3%
  • The number of large trucks involved in fatal crashes decreased 4 percent (from 5,033 to 4,842)
  • The number of large trucks involved in property damage only crashes decreased 21 percent (from 414,000 to 327,000)

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

2020 driver-related causes of fatal truck accidents include:

  • Speeding 7.3%
  • Impairment (fatigue, alcohol, illness, etc.) 5.2%
  • Distraction or inattention (cell phone, eating, etc.) 5.2%
  • Careless driving 4.8%
  • Failure to yield the right of way 4.2%
2020 Fatal 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: 

  • 415,000 crashes were reported in 2020, and 4,444 of them involved fatalities
  • 54% of fatal truck crashes occurred on rural roads, and 27% occurred on interstate highways
  • 82% of fatal crashes occurred on weekdays
  • 26% of fatal work zone crashes involved at least one truck

Vehicles involved in truck accidents

Truck accident statistics from 2020 indicate that large trucks (trucks with a gross weight of more than 10,000 pounds) were involved in 4,842 fatal crashes, 45,900 crashes that caused injuries, and 86,618 crashes that required towaways.

Many trucks also carry hazardous cargo that makes accidents involving them even more dangerous. Hazardous materials were present on 2% of trucks in fatal crashes and 2% of trucks in non-fatal crashes. These materials were released from the truck in 20% of fatal and non-fatal crashes. Flammable liquids like gas and oil accounted for 68% of the releases in fatal crashes and 51% of the releases in non-fatal crashes.

Did you know Truck Crash Infographic

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.

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.

2020 Large Truck Crashes infographic

The majority of fatalities — 83% — 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.

Contact one of our truck accident attorneys

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. 95% of our practice is devoted strictly to lawsuits on behalf of semi-truck accident victims. 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 us to schedule a free consultation. There is no cost and no obligation.

What percentage of work zone related accidents involve large trucks?

In 2020, 26% of all fatal work zone crashes and 15% 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 our firm if you or a loved one have been injured due to a truck accident at a work zone site.

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What percentage of fatal accidents are caused by trucks?

Roughly 9% of all fatal road accidents involved commercial trucks in 2020. Because of their size and speed, large trucks can cause very serious injuries that are sometimes fatal. If a loved one was killed in a truck accident, it’s important to get legal advice from an experienced attorney who can explain your rights.

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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, they can still be serious. In 2020, there were approximately:

  • 7,290 forklift injuries
  • 78 forklift fatalities

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How much will a truck accident lawsuit cost me?

At Fried Goldberg, we work strictly on a contingency fee basis. 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.

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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.

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Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts 2020 (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) (U.S. Department of Transportation)

Traffic Safety Facts: Large Trucks (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)

The Large Truck Crash Causation Study – Analysis Brief | FMCSA

Forklifts (National Safety Council)

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