Trucking Accidents: Facts and Stats

Auto Accident Lawyer

When it comes to auto accidents with large trucks, even the smallest collision can be deadly. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a total of 3,986 people died in large truck crashes in 2016. Read on to learn about some of the most common and shocking trucking accidents facts and stats.


According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)’s Large Truck Crash Causation Study, large truck accidents occur due to one of the following variables:

  1. Critical Event: an action or event makes a collision unavoidable
  2. Critical Reason: The FMCSA found that 87% of large truck critical reason accidents are caused by driver error. The types of errors are broken down into four categories:
    • Non-Performance: this error occurs when the driver becomes physically impaired due to seizure, heart attack, falling asleep, etc.
    • Recognition: similar to distracted driving, the driver was either inattentive, distracted, or failed to adequately observe a situation
    • Decision: the driver makes a poor decision, such as driving too fast, misjudging distance, etc.
    • Performance: the driver panics, overcompensates, or exercises poor directional control.Many of the above errors can be attributed to driver experience and/or fatigue.
  3. Associated Factors: the persons, vehicles, and environmental conditions present at the time of the crash (brake problems, traffic flow, road problems, speed, etc.)


The following information comes from FMCSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) and Federal Highway Administration, Highway Statistics 2016 data.

  • 119,000 people were injured in crashes involving large trucks or buses
  • 4,564 people died in large truck or bus crashes in the United States in 2016.
  • The number of large trucks involved in fatal crashes increased by 3% from 2015 to 2016.
  • 37% of all fatal crashes, 23 % of all injury crashes, and 20% of all property damage only crashes involving large trucks occurred at night (6:00 pm to 6:00 am).
  • 84% of fatal crashes and 88% of nonfatal crashes involving large trucks occurred on weekdays (Monday through Friday).
  • 39% of large truck occupants killed in crashes were not wearing a seatbelt.
  • Speed was a factor in 17% of fatal truck crashes
  • 61% of fatal crashes involving large trucks occurred in rural areas
  • 27% of fatal crashes in work zones involved a large truck
  • 6% of fatal crashes involved a distracted driver
    • 16% of those were related to cell phone usage


If you’ve been injured in a trucking accident, you might be entitled to carry out legal action against the driver or truck company. Find a truck accident lawyer with extensive experience securing the maximum fair compensation in auto accident cases.