Commercial Truck Accident Statistics (2019 Update)

Personal injury blog

Trucking accident statistics

October 9, 2019 | Car accidents, Personal Injury, Truck Accidents

The Dangers of Commercial Trucks

Commercial trucks play a vital role in the United States’ economy.

Each day, 18-wheelers deliver countless items that bring consumers their products and help businesses run more efficiently.

Nowadays, speed is essential. Consumers and businesses both want their goods as quickly as possible.

As experts in truck accident law, we must constantly review statistics, facts, and data for motor vehicle accidents involving semi-trucks. When clients come to us after they were involved in a truck accident while driving their personal car, truck, or motorcycle, we know there are important factors to analyze in order to determine who is at fault.

Commercial truck drivers carry a lot of responsibility when they get behind the wheel of a truck that size, and unfortunately, many times they also face strenuous working conditions. They must meet strict deadlines while also driving long shifts. Combining that with poor road conditions, inexperienced drivers, or a mechanically flawed machine can lead to devastating results.

As personal injury attorneys, it is our job to help our clients receive fair compensation when they are involved in a trucking collision.  Because of this, we have certain statistics and facts that we refer to when analyzing a crash site and building our case.

The data below was compiled from reports created by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

Important truck accident statistics

  • The United States Department of Transportation allows truckers to drive a maximum of 11 hours per day. This equates to 77 hours per week driving on the road.
  • Fully-loaded 18-wheelers can require up to 30% greater stopping distance
  • In 2017, there were 102,000 injuries from automobile accidents that involved a semi-trick
  • 4,102 people died in commercial truck accidents in 2017
  • 2,797 (nearly 70%) of those killed in truck accidents in 2017 were occupants of the other vehicles involved in the accident
  • 580 (nearly 15%) of those killed in truck accidents in 2015 were pedestrians, bike riders or motorcycle riders
  • 1979 was the deadliest year involving truck crashes where 6,539 deaths were caused
  • 98% of commercial truck accidents result in at least 1 death
  • Trucking accidents cause an average of about $60,000 in damage
  • Driver fatigue is the primary contributor for about 30% of truck accidents

Semi-Truck accidents by state in 2017

StateFatal Crashes
Alabama85
Alaska4
Arizona83
Arkansas75
California320
Colorado80
Connecticut20
Delaware13
District of Columbia0
Florida275
Georgia195
Hawaii6
Idaho44
Illinois126
Indiana119
Iowa63
Kansas71
Kentucky75
Louisiana89
Maine23
Maryland46
Massachusetts27
Michigan76
Minnesota59
Mississippi93
Missouri104
Montana19
Nebraska37
Nevada35
NewHampshire12
New Jersey52
New Mexico54
New York112
North Carolina138
North Dakota21
Ohio143
Oklahoma120
Oregon51
Pennsylvania157
Rhode Island7
South Carolina83
South Dakota15
Tennessee121
Texas556
Utah34
Vermont7
Virginia88
Washington73
West Virginia41
Wisconsin73
Wyoming17

Related: Fatal Commerical Truck Accident Statistics

Commercial truck accidents by the speed limit

Speed LimitNumber of FatalitiesPercent of Fatalities
25 mph or Less1220.029
30 - 35 mph2810.066
40 - 45 mph5990.141
50 - 55 mph14010.331
60 - 65 mph8750.207
70 - 75 mph7870.186
80 - 85 mph300.007
No Statutory Limit490.012

Related: What Causes a Commercial Truck Accident?

Large truck accidents by year

YearPeople Injured in Truck Accidents
1997157000
1998156000
1999176000
2000166000
2001153000
2002158000
2003150000
2004145000
2005136000
2006126000
2007124000
2008113000
200993000
2010106000
2011112000
2012126000
2013133000
2014132000
2015138000
2016*168000
2017*170000

Key factors that cause truck accidents include:

  • Truck drivers driving to fast in order to meet a deadline
  • Inexperienced drivers operating the truck
  • Inexperienced drivers operating other vehicles
  • Dangerous weather conditions
  • Truck drivers falling asleep due to long driving periods
  • And countless other circumstances

While this is a key marketing tool for delivery services that operate in the trucking industry, it is also a key factor in truck accidents.

Semi-trucks sheer power and weight make them one of the deadliest weapons on the road. Even an accident at a slow speed can cause devastating results.

How much does a semi-truck weigh?

The average weight of a semi-truck is around 80,000 pounds and usually weigh 30-35 times more than the average car, however, different factors can cause this number to vary. The weight of a commercial truck depends on several things:

The length of the truck:
The average length of a semi-truck is between 71 and 73 feet (this includes both the cab and the trailer).

The amount/weight of cargo the truck is transporting:
The average weight of a semi-truck’s load is between 70,000 and 80,000 pounds.

The state in which the truck is operating:
Different states allow different maximum load capacity for commercial trucks. South Dakota, the state that allows the most weight to be transported, allows up to 171,000 pounds to be delivered on non-interstate roads.

As truck accident attorneys in St. Louis we have dealt with many automobile accidents involving semi-trucks, 18-wheelers, and other commercial trucks. We have seen the catastrophic damages that are the result of these massive vehicles colliding with consumer vehicles. If you or a loved one has been injured in a commercial trucking accident contact us to find out your options!