truck accident

The Grim Numbers on Truck Accidents

The trucking industry is the backbone of inland commerce and trade in the United States. With about 8.9 million people employed directly or indirectly, it is also one of the largest employers in the country. According to the DoT, there are 15.5 million trucks in operation in the US and they carry about 70% of all goods transported across the country. Because of the sheer number of trucks, the rate of truck accidents on America’s highways and streets is high.

Here are some shocking commercial truck accident facts and statistics obtained from sources like the NHTSA, FMCSA, and DoT:

Crash statistics

  • About half a million truck crashes occur every year in the United States, according to the Department of Transportation (DoT).
  • About 68% of the fatal crashes occur on rural roads.
  • Nearly 70% of all fatal crashes occur during daytime.
  • Nearly 90% of all accidents are caused by human error – either by truck drivers or the driver of other vehicles.
  • Nearly 30% of all accidents can be attributed to driver fatigue.
  • About 75% of all accidents are caused by the drivers of other vehicles.
  • Two-axle trailers pulled by three-axle tractors account for 89% of all truck accidents.
  • Of all the driver-related truck accidents, brake failures accounts for 29%, speeding accounts for 23% of truck accidents, unfamiliarity with a route or roadway accounts for 22% of truck accidents, over-the-counter drug use accounts for 17%, poor surveillance accounts for 14%, fatigue accounts for 13%, work pressure accounts for 10%, illegal turns account for 9%, and driver inattention accounts for 9%.
  • Single-vehicle crashes accounted for 16% of all fatal truck crashes in 2015.

Injury and fatality statistics

  • About 130,000 people are injured in truck accidents each year in the U.S.
  • Nearly 4,000 people are killed in truck accidents each year in the U.S.
  • Truck accidents accounted for 11% of all fatal motor vehicles crashes in 2015.
  • Of all the people killed in truck accidents, 98% are passengers of the vehicles struck by trucks.
  • Only 22% of truck accidents account for all the injuries and fatalities. No injuries occur in 78% of the accidents.
  • Of all fatalities, head-on collisions account for 31%, rear-end accidents account for 19%, and side impacts account for 25%.
  • Tractor-trailers accounted for 2,887 fatalities and single-unit trucks accounted for 963 fatalities in 2015.
  • Of the 3,852 commercial truck accident fatalities in 2015, 1,158 occurred on freeways, 2,027 occurred on other major roads, 528 occurred on minor roads and 139 occurred in other places.
  • Vehicle rollover accounted for 52% of truck accident fatalities in 2015.
  • 17% of all truck accident fatalities occurred on Saturdays and Sundays in 2015.
  • 42% of all truck accident fatalities occurred between 6 am and 3 pm in 2015.
  • 58% of all truck accident fatalities occurred in single-vehicle crashes in 2015.
  • Of the fatal victims who were car occupants, 29% were killed in head-on crashes and 20% were killed in accidents where their vehicle rear-ended the truck.
  • Of the fatal victims who were truck occupants, 60% were killed in collisions with other trucks.

Costs statistics

  • Fatal tractor-trailer accidents cost Americans more than $20 billion each year. Of that, $13.1 billion is associated with the loss of quality of life.
  • The average cost of a commercial truck accident is about $59,150.

Finally, here is one statistic that you really need to pay attention to if you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident. According to a study done by the Insurance Research Council, you are 3.5 times more likely to recover damages if you hire a truck accident lawyer. Therefore, get professional legal help before starting the claims process.