The trucking industry is the backbone of the United States. Truckers transport 71% of all domestic cargo every year. This $800 billion industry is also one of the primary employers in our nation, claiming a significant portion of the country’s full-time workers.

Commercial trucks act as an essential go-between for consumers and products. Everything from daily essentials such as medicine and groceries to online orders from Amazon and elsewhere depends on commercial trucks to haul it wherever it needs to go. Truck operators also work during natural and man-made disasters, transporting vital supplies and making sure that crucial help is able to reach the areas that need it the most.

Size of the Trucking Industry in America

Around 3.36 million truck operators are employed to transport goods across the United States. An additional 7.65 million workers are employed in jobs that are related to commercial trucking, and the industry itself employs almost 6% of the country’s total workforce. These figures do not include truckers who are self-employed, meaning they have the same obligations but do not work for any one freight company.

91.5% of all freight companies operate fewer than six trucks, while 97.4% operate 20 trucks or fewer. These small trucking businesses help keep things running smoothly and make sure that freight gets to where it’s going on time. If commercial trucks ceased to operate, your average supermarket would run out of food in about three days.

Texas leads the nation in the number of employed truck drivers with about 172,000 workers employed in the industry. California is in second place, employing 130,000 truck operators. Third is Pennsylvania with roughly 80,000 truck drivers.

Truck Driver Demographics

91% of all commercial truck drivers are men with the other 9% being women. 63% of all large truck drivers are white, 18.1% are Latino and Hispanic, and 13% are Black. The average age of a truck operator in the United States is 48, an age that increases with each passing year as freight companies are having a hard time finding younger workers to employ.

In spite of our dependence on commercial transportation, these oversized vehicles carry more than just consumer goods. They also carry a lot of potential dangers for others on the roadway. Truck accidents happen regularly and can be devastating when they do.

A national truck accident attorney from the personal injury law firm of Burg Simpson can conduct a thorough investigation into your commercial truck accident and help you secure the maximum amount of compensation under the law. We have multiple resources, including a dedicated investigation team, to ensure a successful outcome for your commercial truck accident injury case. Call us today to schedule your free case review.

National Large Truck Accident Statistics

For the purposes of these statistics, a “large truck” is defined as any heavy or medium-weight truck, not including motorhomes and buses, that have a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of more than 10,000 pounds. This includes both non-commercial and commercial vehicles. In 2020, 72% of all large trucks involved in vehicular fatalities were large, heavy trucks with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of at least 26,000 pounds.

Data has shown that, in 2020:

  • 4,965 people died in collisions involving large trucks. This number represents a 1% reduction from the 5,032 people that were killed in 2019.
  • 71% of the victims who were killed in large truck collisions were the occupants of other motor vehicles.
  • 76% of all fatal large truck accidents took place between 6:00 a.m. on Monday and 5:59 p.m. on Friday.
  • 3% of all large truck operators involved in deadly accidents had a blood-alcohol level of .08 grams per deciliter or more, which is significantly less than the drivers of other types of motor vehicles: 19% for light trucks, 23% for passenger cars, and 27% for motorcycles.
  • All large truck operators involved in deadly accidents had a larger percentage of earlier recorded accidents when compared to the drivers of other kinds of vehicles: 21.3% for large trucks, 20.5% for motorcycles, 19.7% for passenger cars, and 17.3% for light trucks.
  • Large truck operators involved in fatal collisions were 7.3% less likely to have any prior license revocations or suspensions than the operators of other types of vehicles: 12.6% for light trucks, 15.8% for passenger cars, and 20.5% for motorcycles.

The statistics contained here are based on information on fatal vehicle accident data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System and non-fatal vehicle accident data from the Crash Report Sampling System, the General Estimates System, and the National Automotive Sampling System.

All accidents contained in these statistics took place on a public motorway, like a highway or street. Any collisions that took place on private property, including driveways, parking garages and parking lots have been excluded from the statistics.

If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, whether you were an occupant of the truck, another vehicle, or on foot, you may have the right to seek compensation from the liable parties who caused the accident. Reach out to Burg Simpson for a free consultation with our national truck accident lawyers.

Overview of Injuries and Fatalities from Large Truck Accidents

In 2020, 146,930 victims were injured and another 4,965 were killed in a total of 439,206 large truck accidents.

The total of fatal large truck accidents dropped by a single percent between 2019 and 2020. Of the fatal accidents that took place in 2020:

Between 2019 and 2020, a 7% drop occurred in the total number of truck occupants that were killed, and a 2% drop occurred in the number of fatalities among the occupants of other vehicles. This drop marks the first reduction in the deaths of large truck occupants, and the deaths of the occupants of other vehicles involved in truck accidents since 2013.

During that same time period, there was also a 9% raise in the number of non-vehicle occupants that were killed. The 622 non-vehicle occupants that died in large-truck accidents represent the largest number of non-occupant fatalities in the last decade.

In 2020, approximately 146,930 people sustained injuries in large truck accidents. This number represents an 8% reduction from the year before when 159,359 were injured in the same type of crash. Of those injured in 2020:

  • 99,501 or 68% were the occupants of another vehicle
  • 44,934 or 31% were the occupants of a large truck
  • 2,496 or 2% were not vehicle occupants, such as bike riders and pedestrians

Between 2019 and 2020, there was a 40% drop in the total number of non-vehicle occupants that were injured, a 9% drop in the total number of other vehicle occupants that were injured, and a 2% drop in the total number of large truck occupants that were injured.

Large trucks made up about 9% of all motor vehicles involved in deadly accidents and about 5% of all motor vehicles involved in accidents that caused either injuries or property damage in 2020. In that same year, large trucks comprised a total of 5% of all registered vehicles in the United States and 10% of total miles traveled nationwide. In contrast, passenger vehicles such as sedans, pickup trucks, vans, and sports utility vehicles made up 92% of all registered vehicles in the United States and 88% of total vehicle miles traveled nationwide.

Large Truck Accidents

In 2020, large trucks were determined to be more prone than passenger vehicles to being involved in multi-vehicle accidents with fatalities. 80% of all large trucks involved in deadly collisions were in multi-vehicle accidents, as opposed to just 61% of other motor vehicles.

Statistics Involving Prior Accidents

The percentage of drivers who were involved in fatal collisions who also had prior driving infractions, such as accidents, speeding convictions, DUI convictions, license revocations, and license suspensions no more than five years prior to the fatal accident are:

  • At 21.3%, large truck operators had a larger percentage of earlier recorded accidents when compared to the drivers of any other type of vehicle: 20.5% for motorcyclists, 19.7% for passenger vehicles, and 17.3% for light trucks.
  • At 0.9%, large truck operators had the smallest percentage of prior DUI convictions when compared to the drivers of any other type of vehicle: 4.8% for motorcyclists, 3.6% for passenger vehicles, and 3.5% for light trucks.
  • 8% of all large truck operators involved in deadly collisions had one or more prior convictions for speeding, which is only slightly more than the 18.7% of passenger vehicle drivers who were involved in fatal accidents.
  • 3% of all large truck operators involved in fatal accidents had previously had their driver’s license suspended or revoked as opposed to 20.5% of all motorcycle riders, 20.5% of all passenger vehicle drivers, and 12.6% of all light truck drivers.

Trucking Accident Statistics By State

Large trucks were involved in fatal accidents all across our country according to data from 2020. Here are significant statistics pertaining to truck accidents by state:

  • 9% of all motor vehicles involved in fatal collisions nationwide were large trucks.
  • The percentage of fatal large truck accidents ranged from a low of 4% in Washington D.C. to 19% in Wyoming.
  • The percentage of fatal large truck accidents was more than 10% in 17 states.
  • At 622, Texas had the largest number of fatal large truck accidents as well as the highest number of fatal motor vehicle accidents overall.
  • The states in the midwest of the U.S. have significantly higher percentages of fatal large truck accidents than the western or eastern portions of the country.
  • The states with the largest number of large truck occupants who were killed in 2020 were Florida with 45 fatalities and Texas with 116.
  • The total number of occupants of other types of fatal motor vehicle crashes varied from 460 in Texas to a surprising zero in Washington D.C.
  • A total of eleven states saw upwards of 100 occupants of other motor vehicles killed in accidents involving large trucks.
  • California had 90 non-vehicle occupants killed in accidents involving large trucks, more than any other state, while Florida and Texas both had over 50 non-vehicle occupants killed in the same manner.

Large Truck Crash Types

Accidents involving large trucks in 2020 happened in a variety of ways and in a variety of places. Here is some more information about where and how these accidents happened.

  • Of the roughly 415,000 police-reported collisions that involved large trucks, about 1%, or 4,444, were fatal, and about 24%, or 101,000, resulted in some degree of injury.
  • Single-vehicle large truck accidents, including those that involved pedestrians, bike riders, and other non-occupants of vehicles accounted for 22% of all fatal accidents, 16% of all injury-causing accidents, and 24% of all accidents that only involved property damage.
  • Most fatal large truck accidents, 62%, involved another motor vehicle.
  • Fatal large truck accidents occur most frequently on interstates and in rural locations. Around 54% of all fatal large truck accidents took place in remote areas, 27% took place on interstates, and 13% occupied both classifications by taking place on interstates in rural areas.
  • 37% of all fatal large truck accidents, 24% of all injury-causing large truck accidents, and 20% of all large truck accidents that only resulted in property damage took place between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.
  • 82% of fatal large truck accidents and 87% of nonfatal large truck accidents happened on a weekday.
  • Collision with another motor vehicle was the first damaging event (the initial event in an accident that causes property damage or injuries) in 72% of fatal large truck accidents, 81% of injury-causing large truck accidents, and 74% of large truck accidents that resulted in only property damage.
  • A vehicle rollover was the first damaging event in 4% of all fatal large truck accidents and 2% of all nonfatal large truck accidents.
  • 26% of fatal work zone accidents and 15% of injury-causing work accidents involved one or more large trucks.
  • Per million United States residents, there were 13.49 fatal accidents involving large trucks, indicating a 27% raise in the last decade.
  • An average of 1.12 deaths occurred in fatal large truck accidents, 90% of which involved just a single fatality. Most of the victims, 83%, were the occupants of the other vehicle involved in the accident.

If you need legal help after being in a truck accident, you should contact Burg Simpson’s national truck accident lawyers as soon as possible for a free case evaluation.

Large Truck Accidents by Size

These are statistics regarding large trucks that were involved in injury-causing, fatal, and property damage-only accidents. These truck accidents are sorted by vehicle configuration, cargo body type, gross vehicle weight rating, hazardous materials cargo, and hazardous materials released. These are crashes involving at least one injury that required prompt medical care away from the scene, or at least one damaged vehicle that had to be towed or otherwise removed from the scene. All of these statistics are from the most recently published information available, which covers the year 2020.

  • A total of 4,842 large trucks were involved in fatal accidents, 45,900 were involved in injury-causing accidents, and 86,618 were involved in accidents from which at least one vehicle had to be removed.
  • Hazardous cargo or materials were present in 2% of all fatal large truck accidents and in 2% of all injury and vehicle removal accidents. Hazardous cargo or materials were released from 20% of all marked trucks. Combustible liquids such as oil, fuel, and gasoline comprised 68% of all hazardous cargo or material releases from fatal large truck accidents and 51% of all hazardous cargo or material releases in all injury-causing and vehicle removal accidents.
  • Colliding with another vehicle was documented as the most damaging event in 73% of all fatal large truck accidents and in 75% of all non-fatal large truck accidents.
  • The inciting pre-accident event in 63% of all fatal large truck accidents was another motor vehicle, object, animal, or person encroaching on or entering the large truck’s lane. 23% of all fatal large truck accidents were instigated by a pre-accident event that had a direct effect on the large truck’s movement or the operator’s ability to control it.
  • Large trucks towing only a single trailer made up 53% of all fatal large truck accidents. Large trucks towing two trailers accounted for 3% of all fatal large truck accidents. Large trucks towing three trailers comprised less than 0.1% of these kinds of accidents.
  • Between 2018 and 2020:
    • The number of fatal collisions involving large trucks that weighed between 10,001 and 14,000 pounds rose to 724, a 14% increase from 635.
    • The number of fatal collisions involving medium and heavy trucks grew from 405 to 481, a 19% increase.
    • The number of fatal large truck accidents with no issuing authority rose to 819 from 740, an increase of 11%.

Trucking Accident Statistics by Driver Type

These data sets are associated with large truck operators involved in injury-causing, fatal, and property damage-only accidents, and others not in the truck who were injured or killed in large truck accidents. Statistics for the drivers of passenger vehicles are also recorded for comparison. Please note that the number of large truck operators involved in accidents is not strictly equivalent to the overall number of large truck accidents due to the fact that some of the vehicles were driverless when the accident occurred.

  • Out of the 4,778 large truck operators who were involved in fatal accidents, 7%, or 312, were younger than 26 years old, and 6%, or 294, were 66 or older.
  • 826 or 14% of large truck occupants who were involved in fatal accidents were not wearing their seat belts. Out of these, 43%, or 356, died in the accident. By comparison, just 8%, or 349, of the 4,526 truck occupants who were wearing their seat belts died in accidents. Of the 4,778 large truck operators involved in fatal accidents, 533, or 11%, were not wearing their seat belts when the accident took place.
  • Of the 4,778 fatal accidents involving large truck drivers, 6%, or 299, tested positive for the presence of one or more drugs, and 57% of all large truck drivers involved in fatal accidents were not tested at all.
  • One or more driver-related factors were documented in 32% of all large truck operators involved in fatal accidents, compared to 55% of all passenger vehicle drivers involved in fatal accidents. The most frequent driver-related factor regardless of vehicle type was speeding. Driver fatigue and drunk driving were the second most common regardless of vehicle type.
  • 831 occupants of large trucks were killed in accidents, a 7% reduction from the 893 that were killed the year before. 87% of these large truck occupant deaths were operators themselves while another 13% were passengers in the truck.

Statistics About Intoxicated Truck Drivers

A driver is considered to be under the influence of alcohol if they have a blood alcohol level of .08 g/dL or more. For truck drivers, the limit is only half that. The rate of large truck operators who were involved in deadly collisions while they were legally considered to be under the influence was 3% in 2020. For the drivers of any other kind of motor vehicle involved in fatal accidents in that same year, the rates of drivers under the influence were 19% for light trucks, 23% for passenger vehicles, and 27% for motorcyclists.

Contact a National Truck Accident Attorney Today

An accident involving a large commercial truck can change your life forever. With absolutely no warning, you can lose your physical health and your ability to earn a living while watching huge stacks of medical bills and accident-related expenses pile up.

These situations are troubling and challenging to resolve. An experienced national truck accident lawyer from the law firm of Burg Simpson can alleviate some of the pressure by walking you through each step of the personal injury process.

To schedule your free initial case review, call our offices today at (888) 895-2080 or fill out the contact form on our website.
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