202006.05
0

Freight drivers deliver essential goods across the country, but the statistics surrounding crashes and deaths caused by truck accidents can be worrisome to the average commuter. In 2017, there were 4,445 deadly crashes involving a large truck or bus. 

While circumstances can change especially during the COVID-19 pandemic analyzing truck accident statistics can help us pinpoint commonalities in fatalities, weather conditions, and dangerous variables. 

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration releases annual data on truck accidents, fatalities, and causes. To help you stay up-to-date on the latest figures, the truck accident lawyers at Devereaux, Stokes, Fernandez, and Leonard looked at the most recent report of statistics from the 2017 and shared their insights.

Truck Accident Statistics: An Overview

  • In 2017, there were 4,889 accidents involving large trucks and buses
  • The number of truck accidents increased from 4,485 in 2016 to 4,889 in 2017, a 9% rise
  • In 2017, 5,005 people died in a truck accidents
  • 885 truck and bus occupants died in an accident in 2017
  • The number of fatal truck accidents increased by 8% from 2016 to 2017
  • There was a 19% decrease in fatal truck accidents from 2008 to 2017 ,compared to the previous period
  • In 2017, 170,000 people were injured in a truck accident

Source: Crashes Table 1. Fatal Crashes Involving Large Trucks by First Harmful Event, 2015-2017 &  Crashes Table 2. Crashes Involving Large Trucks by First Harmful Event, Number of Vehicles Involved, and Crash Severity, 2017

Bus Accident Statistics

  • In 2017, there were 229 fatal accidents caused by buses. That number is down from 231  in 2016 Source:
  • Bus accident fatalities decreased from 290 in 2016 to 274 in 2017
  • Bus occupant fatalities decreased from 64 in 2016 to 44 in 2017

Source: Trends Table 22. Bus Fatal Crash Statistics, 1975-2017 & Trends Table 23. Bus Injury Crash Statistics, 1997-2017

Truck Accident Statistics: Types of Accidents


First Harmful Event 2015 2016 2017
Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent
Collision with Vehicle in Transport 2,679 74.0% 2,829 72.6% 3,139 74.1%
Collision with Fixed Object 356 9.8% 355 9.1% 388 9.2%
Collision with Pedestrian 274 7.6% 312 8.0% 314 7.4%
Overturn (Rollover) 159 4.4% 196 5.0% 181 4.3%
Collision with Pedalcycle or Other Personal Conveyance 64 1.8% 96 2.5% 91 2.1%
Collision with Parked Motor Vehicle 38 1.0% 41 1.1% 40 0.9%
Collision with Train 4 0.1% 14 0.4% 14 0.3%
Collision with Other Object 10 0.3% 10 0.3% 9 0.2%
Collision with Animal 7 0.2% 7 0.2% 15 0.4%
Explosion/Fire 1 * 1 * 1 *
Jackknife 8 0.2% 8 0.2% 12 0.3%
Pavement Surface Irregularity 1 * 0 0.0% 0 0.0%
Cargo Equipment Loss or Shift 2 0.1% 6 0.2% 9 0.2%
Other 19 0.5% 21 0.5% 24 0.6%
Total 3,622 100.0% 3,896 100.0% 4,237 100.0%

Note: A large truck is defined as a truck with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) greater than 10,000 pounds.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS).

  • A vast majority (74%) of fatal truck accidents occur while a vehicle is in transport. 
  • In 2017, 4.3% of fatal truck accidents were rollovers
  • While rollover accidents are severe and deadly, truck accident statistics show that they only accounted for 7.4% of fatal accidents in 2017, making them the 4th-largest harmful event.

Source: Crashes Table 1. Fatal Crashes Involving Large Trucks by First Harmful Event, 2015-2017

Truck Accident Statistics: Weather

Weather Conditions 2015 2016 2017
Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent
Clear 2,510 69.3% 2,761 70.9% 2,799 66.1%
Cloudy 631 17.4% 569 14.6% 619 14.6%
Rain 276 7.6% 240 6.2% 344 8.1%
Sleet, Hail 17 0.5% 12 0.3% 10 0.2%
Snow 65 1.8% 58 1.5% 67 1.6%
Fog, Smog, Smoke 83 2.3% 54 1.4% 77 1.8%
Severe Crosswinds 3 0.1% 8 0.2% 16 0.4%
Blowing Sand, Soil, Dirt 8 0.2% 4 0.1% 5 0.1%
Blowing Snow 8 0.2% 2 0.1% 6 0.1%
Freezing Rain or Drizzle 3 0.1% 2 0.1% 4 0.1%
Other 8 0.2% 4 0.1% 4 0.1%
Unknown 10 0.3% 182 4.7% 286 6.8%
Total 3,622 100.0% 3,896 100.0% 4,237 100.0%

Note: A large truck is defined as a truck with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) greater than 10,000 pounds.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS).

  • While rain and winter weather can make driving conditions more dangerous, 80% of fatal truck accidents occurred on a clear or cloudy day. 
  • In 2017, 8.1% of fatal truck accidents happened in the rain
  • The number of fatal accidents that occurred in rainy, snowy, foggy, or windy weather jumped from 9.9% in 2016 to 12.6% in 2017.
    • To prevent accidents, both truck drivers and pedestrians should and avoid driving during hazardous conditions, if possible.

Source: Crashes Table 19. Fatal Crashes Involving Large Trucks by Weather Conditions, 2015-2017

Truck Accident Statistics: State-by-State Data

State Total
Texas 621
California 341
Florida 296
Georgia 225
Pennsylvania 183
Ohio 158
North Carolina 147
Illinois 139
Indiana 131
Oklahoma 131

Note: A large truck is defined as a truck with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) greater than 10,000 pounds.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS).
Source: Trends Table 29. Fatalities in Crashes Involving Large Trucks by State, 2007-2017

  • Statistics show that Texas significantly leads with the most fatal truck accidents, with California another populous state at a distant second.   

Truck Accident Statistics: Intersection Type

Intersection Type 2015 2016 2017
Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent
Not an Intersection 2,666 73.6% 2,889 74.2% 3,085 72.8%
Four-Way Intersection 653 18.0% 706 18.1% 777 18.3%
T-Intersection 264 7.3% 267 6.9% 337 8.0%
Y-Intersection 27 0.7% 27 0.7% 28 0.7%
Traffic Circle 0 0.0% 1 * 2 *
Roundabout 0 0.0% 0 0.0% 0 0.0%
Five Point, or More 9 0.2% 2 0.1% 4 0.1%
L-Intersection 2 0.1% 1 * 2 *
Unknown 1 * 3 0.1% 2 *
Total 3,622 100.0% 3,896 100.0% 4,237 100.0%

*Less than 0.05 percent.

Note: A large truck is defined as a truck with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) greater than 10,000 pounds.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS).

  • 72% of truck crashes did not take place at an intersection, likely occurring on a road or highway.
  • 18% of fatal truck accidents occurred in a four-way intersection
  • Four-way intersections continue to be the most deadly, accounting for 18.3% of fatal truck accidents in 2017

Source: Crashes Table 17. Fatal Crashes Involving Large Trucks by Intersection Type, 2015-2017

Truck Accident Statistics: Day of the Week

Day of Week 2015 2016 2017
Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent
Sunday 248 6.8% 250 6.4% 287 6.8%
Monday 565 15.6% 676 17.4% 690 16.3%
Tuesday 609 16.8% 592 15.2% 701 16.5%
Wednesday 608 16.8% 703 18.0% 668 15.8%
Thursday 633 17.5% 649 16.7% 756 17.8%
Friday 602 16.6% 660 16.9% 716 16.9%
Saturday 357 9.9% 366 9.4% 419 9.9%
Total 3,622 100.0% 3,896 100.0% 4,237 100.0%

Note: A large truck is defined as a truck with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) greater than 10,000 pounds.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS).

  • From 2015 to 2017, the percentage of truck accidents that occurred on each day remained relatively the same. 
  • In 2017, fewer fatal accidents occurred on weekends: 6.8% of deadly truck accidents happened on a Saturday, while 9.9% occurred on a Saturday.
    • 16.7% of fatal truck accidents occurred on a weekend
    • 83.3% of fatal truck accidents occurred on a weekday

What To Do If You’ve Been in a Truck Accident

As shown in the statistics above, truck accidents can occur in different weather conditions, states, and road conditions and are many times fatal.

If you or a loved one become a victim of a truck accident, it’s important to contact an attorney immediately. Working with a personal injury lawyer can help you navigate tricky insurance companies and receive compensation for your injuries

Attorney Gonzalo Fernandez has over 30 years of handling similar cases. Contact us to schedule a free consultation today.