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7 Semi-Truck Accident Statistics You May Not Know

Close up of a broken train crossing signal after a semi-truck accident

Truck accidents are often very serious events causing severe personal injuries or wrongful death. While all motor vehicle accidents carry the risk of serious harm, truck accidents are especially dangerous, especially for car occupants, pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicyclists.

Below we profile some truck accident statistics you may not be aware of, including the times of day in which truck accidents are most likely to occur, roadways that have the most truck accidents, and other surprising data.

#1 - Most truck accident deaths are passenger car occupants.

According to data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), more than 4,000 people died in truck accidents in 2019. Roughly 67% of these fatalities were passenger vehicle occupants, compared to just 16% truck occupants. Pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists accounted for 15% of truck accident deaths in 2019. When a passenger vehicle and a truck are involved in a two-vehicle crash, 97% of the fatalities are occupants of the passenger vehicle.

#2 - Speed is the most significant contributing factor to rollover crashes.

A study conducted by the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine reported that speed is a contributing factor in at least 45% of semi-truck rollover accidents.

The study describes that there are two elements that help explain the effects speed plays in rollover crashes, including:

  • When the front wheels of the truck turn the vehicle more rapidly than its cargo, a rollover crash occurs. The faster the truck is going, the greater the difference of speed between the truck and its load.
  • Semi-trucks primarily operate on interstates and other high-speed roads. High speeds in connection with careless behaviors along with speeds that exceed a safe rate for the specific combination of vehicle and road features together most often prompt accidents.

#3 – Most fatal semi-truck accidents happen in rural areas.

IIHS reports that most fatal semi-truck accidents (66%) happen on roads other than interstates and freeways. Rural roads see less traffic, are often straight and flat and have higher speed limits when compared to urban freeways. This combination can lull truckers into a hypnotic state, potentially causing truck driver fatigue, a common factor in truck crashes. They can also lead to driver distractions like phone calls, texting, eating, or looking at GPS devices.

Anything that pulls a driver’s eyes off the road can lead to catastrophe.

#4 – Nearly half of all fatal semi-truck wrecks happen between 6 am and 3 pm.

In 2019, roughly 48% of all truck accident deaths happened between 6:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Of the 4,119 people killed in truck crashes, 1,987 died in accidents that happened during these hours.

In accidents that did not involve a truck, the hours between 6:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. accounted for just 30% of all fatalities.

#5 - Vehicular issues cause about 10% of truck accidents.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), about 10% of all truck accidents are caused as a result of vehicular issues, including:

#6 - Brake problems are the leading vehicular cause of semi-truck crashes.

FMCSA data shows that brake problems cause 29% of large truck crashes, more than any other issue with the vehicle. By contrast, tire issues cause about 6% of truck accidents and cargo shift causes about 4% of big rig crashes.

#7 - Interruption of traffic flow is the most common “critical reason” for truck-car accidents.

FMCSA identified the following as the most common critical reasons for truck vs car accidents (listed in order according to how often they were coded for large trucks):

  • Interruption of the traffic flow (such as congestion, previous accident, etc.)
  • Unfamiliarity with the roadway
  • Insufficient surveillance
  • Traveling too fast for conditions
  • Unlawful maneuver
  • Lack of attention
  • Fatigue
  • Illness
  • An incorrect assumption of another road user’s behaviors
  • Another person or object within the vehicle causes a distraction

We’re Here to Help Injured Truck Accident Victims

If you have sustained an injury or lost a family member in a truck accident, you may be entitled to pursue financial compensation for your losses. Our team has helped hundreds of crash victims and their families throughout the nation. We can help you too.

In addition to compensation for medical bills and other measurable losses, you may also be able to recover damages for pain and suffering, loss of income if you are out of work for some time, and punitive damages. If you have lost a family member, you may be entitled to recover for the loss of their love, care, and companionship. In every case we take on, we fight to recover the maximum compensation possible for our clients.

If you have any questions about your case or the legal process, please do not hesitate to pick up the phone and call us. Our legal team is here for you, ready and willing to help.

Contact our office by calling (855) 948-5098 or submitting an online contact form today to schedule your free consultation with one of our skilled semi-truck accident attorneys.



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