Truck accidents continue to happen far too often throughout the United States. Not only do these accidents leave a trail of destruction, but they also result in debilitating injuries and deaths. Regardless of the cause, a collision between a truck and a passenger car will almost always lead to devastation. Here are a few key truck accident statistics you should know.
The following is a look at just how prevalent truck accidents are in our country. If you’ve suffered an injury or lost a loved one in a truck accident caused by someone else’s negligence, Penn Kestner & McEwen is ready to help you pursue fair compensation. Contact us online or call (800) 732-3070 for a free case review.
Number of Truck Accident Statistics in Recent Years
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA), the number of truck accidents and fatalities in accidents involving large commercial trucks and buses remained fairly consistent between 2018-2021. Here’s a quick look at the numbers.
- 2018: 4,679 crashes, 5,255 fatalities
- 2019: 4,792 crashes, 5,353 fatalities
- 2020: 4,650 crashes, 5,188 fatalities
- 2021: 5,005 crashes, 5,646 fatalities
Fatal Truck Accident Statistics
Why do truck accidents result in death so often?
One of the main reasons is the sheer size and weight of commercial trucks. An average fully-loaded truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, while an average car weighs only 4,000 pounds. This significant difference in weight means that when a truck collides with a smaller vehicle, the impact force is much greater, leading to more severe injuries.
Additionally, trucks often have higher ground clearance, which means that the point of impact in a collision may be at the chest or head level of the smaller vehicle’s occupants. This can lead to traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and internal organ damage.
Trucks may also carry hazardous materials, such as flammable liquids or chemicals, which can cause catastrophic injuries in an accident.
Truck Accidents Resulting in Injury
The FMCSA also reported 50,320 injury crashes involving large trucks and buses, leading to 69,459 injuries. Some of the more common types of injuries resulting from truck accidents include the following:
- Whiplash: This is a neck injury resulting from the head suddenly jerking forward and back, causing strain to the ligaments and muscles.
- Broken bones: Truck accidents can result in fractures to the arms, legs, ribs, and other bones in the body.
- Spinal cord injuries: These can range from mild to severe, resulting in paralysis or loss of limb sensation.
- Traumatic brain injuries: TBI can result from the head hitting a hard surface, such as the steering wheel or dashboard, leading to long-term cognitive and physical impairments.
- Internal injuries: Truck accidents can also result in internal injuries, such as internal bleeding, organ damage, and ruptured blood vessels.
- Burns: If a truck catches fire during an accident, drivers and passengers can suffer severe burns.
- Emotional trauma: Truck accidents can cause emotional trauma, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression.
Most Dangerous States for Truck Accidents
You might expect that Texas, California, and Florida would rank in the top five states that had the most accidents involving trucks and large buses in 2022 since they have the largest populations and the largest highway systems. But you might be surprised at which two round out the list.
- Texas – 18,359 accidents (651 fatalities, 9,453 injuries)
- California – 12,889 (364 fatalities, 4,995 injuries)
- Florida – 9,136 (243 fatalities, 4,427 injuries)
- New York – 7,746 (116 fatalities, 5,893 injuries)
- Illinois – 7,509 (198 fatalities, 3,583 injuries)
When and Where Truck Accidents Happen
In 2020, the FMCSA analyzed where and when truck accidents typically occurred. Here are a few of the more interesting truck accident statistics they found:
- Most fatal accidents occur on rural roads and interstate highways. In 2020, 54% of fatalities occurred in rural areas, while 27% took place in interstates.
- About 37% of all fatal crashes occurred between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.
- Weekdays were the most dangerous for fatal truck accidents by far, with 82% of deaths and 87% of injuries occurring between Monday and Friday.
Common Causes of Accidents
Many factors contribute to truck accidents, and these are some of the most common.
One of the most common causes of truck accidents is driver error. Examples include speeding, distracted driving, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and failure to follow traffic laws. Drivers of large trucks also face unique challenges, such as longer stopping distances and blind spots, making it more difficult to avoid accidents.
Another common cause of truck accidents is vehicle malfunction. Trucks are complex vehicles with many mechanical components, and any malfunction in these components can lead to a severe accident. Some of the most common vehicle malfunctions that can cause truck accidents to include brake failure, tire blowouts, and engine problems.
Environmental factors can also contribute to truck accidents. For example, weather conditions such as rain, snow, and fog can reduce visibility and increase the likelihood of accidents. Road conditions, such as potholes and uneven pavement, can also make it more difficult for drivers to maintain control of their vehicles. In addition, construction zones and other areas with heavy traffic can increase the risk of accidents.
Truck drivers are notorious for driving while fatigued. In many instances, they must drive for extended periods without adequate rest. This can lead to fatigue, impairing a driver’s ability to operate their vehicle safely. Fatigue can even lead to falling asleep behind the wheel, a recipe for disaster.
When workers don’t correctly load cargo, it can shift during transport, causing the truck to become unbalanced and difficult to control. Overloaded trucks can also be more challenging to stop and can cause increased wear and tear on the vehicle’s brakes and tires.
Contact Penn Kestner & McEwen if You’ve Been Involved in a Truck Accident
Talk to a Penn Kestner & McEwen attorney for more information on how we can help you get the money you deserve. Call (800) 732-3070 or use our online contact form to schedule a free evaluation of your case.