Truck Accident Facts & Statistics

Truck accident statistics help shed light on how serious a problem big truck crashes are on our nation’s roads.

At Pierce | Skrabanek our truck accident attorneys believe that showing you the facts about semi truck accidents and their causes will better help you understand the dangers you face on the road.

Our families drive the same Texas roads and highways as yours do. Our attorneys want to keep everyone safe.

The Trucking Industry

There are currently 15.5 million trucks in operation in the U.S., according to the Department of Transportation. The trucking industry also employs about 8.9 million people. Of those workers, 2 million are truck drivers. Truck driving is a heavily male-dominated profession: Just 4.1 percent of truck drivers in the U.S. are women.

  • Trucks continue to carry most of freight around the nation. About 70 percent of goods transported across the country is carried by a truck, according to the DOT. Planes and trains make up the other 30 percent.
  • Truck drivers work long hours. When on a shift, most drivers work 11 to 14 hours. This includes driving, fueling and filling out paperwork.
  • A profitable industry, trucking collects total revenues of about $255 billion annually. Truck companies pay about $21 billion to operate on our roads. Trucks spend another $3.9 billion per year on fuel.
  • When compared to passenger cars, however, trucks are involved in accidents at a much smaller rate. Trucks are three times less likely to be involved in an accident than a regular motor vehicle. Semis are also four times more likely to pass safety inspections than cars.
  • Semi truck accidents account for 2.4 percent of all accidents on U.S. roads.

Fatal Truck Accidents

About half a million truck crashes occur in the U.S. each year, according to the DOT. One out of every eight of those trucking accidents are fatal.

Of all fatalities in semi truck accidents, 98 percent of those deaths occur to the passengers in cars struck by trucks.

Among fatal crashes, 68 percent occur on rural roads. Roughly two-thirds of all fatal truck accidents occur during daytime.

Main Causes of Truck Accidents

Many careless mistakes can lead to a truck accident. Here are some common truck crash causes our office sees:

  • Brake problems
  • Speeding
  • Hazards in the roadway
  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Fatigue or drowsiness
  • Failing to stay in lane
  • Inattention
  • Texting or talking on a cell phone while driving

Top 10 Driver-Reported Factors

Here are the 10 most prevalent truck driver-related factors we see in truck accidents, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, followed by the percentage of how often those factors play a role in truck accidents. You’ll see that, in nearly every accident that occurs due to a truck driver’s error, one of the following categories played a role in the wreck:

  1. Brake problems: 29%
  2. Driving too fast for given conditions: 23%
  3. Driver not being familiar with the roadway: 22%
  4. Problems with the roadway: 20%
  5. Over-the-counter drug use by the truck driver: 17%
  6. Poor surveillance: 14%
  7. Fatigue: 13%
  8. Pressure to work from the carrier: 10%
  9. Driver making an illegal turn or maneuver: 9%
  10. Driver not paying enough attention: 9%

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Most Common Fatal Truck Accidents

There are most common types of fatal truck accidents that occur most frequently, according to the FMCSA:

  1. Head-on collision: 31%
  2. Rear-ended by another vehicle: 19%
  3. Truck is struck on the left side while passing on the right: 14%
  4. Truck is struck on the right side while passing on the left: 11%

In 25% of crashes, other causes triggered the truck accident.

Three-axle tractors pulling two-axle trailers account for 89 percent of truck accidents. In just under half of semi wrecks, doubles (two trailers) consisted of a two-axle tractor with a one-axle first trailer and a two-axle second trailer.

Where Do Truck Accidents Occur?

A truck accident can happen in a split-second anytime, anywhere when a semi is on the road. However, semi truck accidents are most likely to occur on long-haul trips. About 65 percent of all fatal truck accidents happen on trips where the driver is traveling more than 51 miles from his or her base.

Crashes during long-haul trips can often occur because of fatigue. Truckers average less than five hours of sleep per night while on the road. Sleep loss and fatigued driving is similar to being impaired by alcohol. If a driver has had only five hours of sleep for two nights in a row, it affects his or her driving. After 24 hours of being awake without sleep, a driver is operating under the same capacity as if he or she had a blood-alcohol content of 0.10 percent.

Some states see more truck accidents than others. Texas, California, Florida, Georgia and Pennsylvania lead the nation in truck crashes.

When Are Truck Accidents Likely to Occur?

Truck accidents most frequently happen during weekdays by a large margin. More than three-quarters of all fatal truck crashes occur during the week, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).

A truck is also more likely to crash during daytime hours, and two-thirds of all truck accidents occur on rural roads, according to the NHTSA.

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Thank you Pierce Skrabenek!”

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“Paul Skrabanek of the law firm Pierce Skrabanek was very professional and went above & beyond in handling my daughter's case. Very dedicated, worked diligently, and got justice for my family. If I could give a higher rating than 5 stars I would. Thank you and your firm for such tenacity.”

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Get a Truck Accident Attorney to Represent You

Here’s another statistic for you: truck accident victims who hire a truck crash lawyer are 3.5 times more likely to recover an injury settlement than those who do not hire a truck accident attorney, according to a 2004 study from the Insurance Research Council.

If you or a loved one has suffered due to a truck accident in Houston or elsewhere in Texas, we know this is likely one of the toughest times of your life. We want to ease your burden and get you the compensation you need. A trucking accident attorney at Pierce | Skrabanek has the experience and dedication to seek them maximum compensation available under Texas law.

Contact us here or give a call today at (832) 690-7200 or 855-400-4714. Our consultation is free. Our semi truck accident attorneys are waiting to help.

Frequently Asked Questions