Truck Accident Statistics

Posted By Kinnard, Clayton & Beveridge || Jul 22, 2016

Truck accidents are some of the most devastating collisions on the highway, especially when they involve smaller vehicles. A fully loaded truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds within regulation limits, which puts it at around 25 times the size of the average passenger car. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)[1], 73,000 large trucks were involved in crashes that lead to injury in 2013, while another 3,906 large trucks were involved in crashes that lead to fatalities.

Given the incredible size difference, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise to hear that the vast majority of people injured or killed in a collision involving a large truck weren’t truck drivers. According to the NHTSA, out of the 95,000 people injured in truck accidents, 69,000 were occupants of other vehicles, while another 2,000 were outside of a vehicle altogether – pedestrians, bicyclists, etc. Along with those injuries, of the 3,964 people killed in truck accidents, 2,834 were occupants of other vehicles, and another 439 were pedestrians, bicyclists, etc.

In 2013, 40,962 vehicles were involved in fatal crashes involving large trucks in the U.S., not including the 3,906 large trucks involved in fatal crashes. Tennessee accounted for 1,400 of those vehicles, the ninth most of any state, and 126 non-large truck drivers were killed, the eighth most of any state. According to a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Study (FMCSA) study conducted in 2007[2], there were three main kinds of what they referred to as “critical events” – an event or action that made a collision impossible to avoid – that accounted for over 80 percent of all collisions involving large trucks.

  • Running out of their lane: This accounted for 32% of all crashes, and included both veering into another lane and off the road entirely.
  • Loss of vehicle control: This accounted for 29% of all crashes, and included cargo shifting in transit, travelling too fast for the road conditions, poor road conditions, vehicle systems failure, etc.
  • Rear-ending another vehicle: 22% of all crashes involved the large truck rear-ending a vehicle while in their current travel lane.

According to the FMCSA study, out of the hundreds of factors associated with truck crashes, the top 10 contributing factors, in descending order, were:

  1. Brake problems
  2. Traffic flow interruption (congestion, previous crash)
  3. Prescription drug use
  4. Traveling too fast for conditions
  5. Unfamiliarity with roadway
  6. Roadway problems
  7. Required to stop before crash (traffic control device, crosswalk)
  8. Over-the-counter drug use
  9. Inadequate surveillance
  10. Fatigue

Crashes involving large trucks are incredibly dangerous, and far too often end up causing severe personal injury and property damage. At Kinnard, Clayton & Beveridge, our Nashville truck accident attorneys have over 100 years of collective experience handling these kinds of cases, and are ready to provide our clients with the legal knowledge required to secure the compensation they deserve. Contact us today to tell us about your case, or give us a call at (615) 933-2893 to set up a meeting with one of our truck accident lawyers.

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