commercial truck accident statistics

September 13, 2023

Commercial Truck Accident Statistics: A Comprehensive Analysis 

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In recent years, the dynamics of road safety have evolved significantly, with commercial trucks playing a pivotal role in both commerce and transportation concerns. As these massive vehicles traverse highways and local roads, understanding commercial truck accident statistics becomes crucial. Not only do these statistics shed light on the safety measures in place, but they also highlight areas that require immediate attention and improvement. With thousands of trucks delivering goods across the country daily, the potential for accidents is ever-present. This article delves deep into the data, offering a comprehensive analysis of commercial truck accidents, their common types, and the regions most affected. By gaining insights into these statistics, we can better equip ourselves with knowledge and promote safer roadways for everyone.

Most Common Types of Truck Accidents

The sheer size and weight of commercial trucks make them formidable entities on the road. When accidents involving these giants occur, the consequences can be devastating. Understanding the most common types of truck accidents can help in devising strategies to prevent them. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Jackknife Accidents: This type of accident occurs when the trailer of the truck folds in on itself, resembling the acute angle of a jackknife. Often caused by sudden braking or slippery roads, jackknife accidents can lead to multi-vehicle pile-ups.
  • Rollovers: A truck rollover happens when the vehicle tips over onto its side or roof. Factors like high speeds, sharp turns, or unbalanced cargo can contribute to such incidents.
  • Rear-end Collisions: Given the longer braking distance required for trucks compared to smaller vehicles, rear-end collisions are not uncommon. These accidents can be particularly hazardous if the truck hits a smaller vehicle from behind.
  • Blind Spot Accidents: Commercial trucks have larger blind spots than regular vehicles. If a car or motorcycle remains in these blind spots for too long, especially while the truck is changing lanes or turning, it can lead to a collision.
  • Lost Load Accidents: Trucks carrying improperly secured cargo can lead to accidents if the load falls onto the roadway, posing a threat to other vehicles.

Awareness of these common accident types is the first step towards prevention. By recognizing potential hazards and understanding their causes, both truck drivers and other road users can take measures to ensure safer journeys.

States with the Highest Number of Truck Accidents

The frequency of truck accidents varies across the United States, with some states recording higher numbers than others. Several factors contribute to these disparities, including road conditions, traffic volume, and state-specific regulations. Here’s an overview of the states that have historically reported the most truck accidents:

  • Texas: With its vast network of highways and a booming oil industry, Texas often tops the list. The state’s expansive size and heavy industrial activity contribute to the high number of truck-related incidents.
  • California: The Golden State, with its major ports and extensive interstate system, sees a significant amount of truck traffic, leading to a higher number of accidents.
  • Florida: Known for its tourism and agriculture, Florida’s roads are frequently traveled by commercial trucks, making it another hotspot for truck accidents.
  • Georgia: As a key transportation hub in the Southeast, Georgia’s interstates are heavily used by commercial trucks, leading to a notable number of accidents.
  • Pennsylvania: With its mountainous terrain and busy highways, Pennsylvania also reports a significant number of truck accidents each year.

It’s essential to note that while these states may have higher numbers of accidents, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are less safe. Often, the sheer volume of truck traffic plays a significant role in these statistics. However, understanding these numbers can help state authorities and trucking companies focus on targeted safety measures.

The Safest Side to Pass a Commercial Truck

Navigating around commercial trucks on the highway requires a keen understanding of their operational challenges. One of the most significant challenges is the truck’s blind spots, often referred to as “No-Zones.” These are areas around the truck where the driver has limited or no visibility of other vehicles. Knowing which side of the truck has a smaller blind spot can be crucial for safe overtaking.

  • Right Side Blind Spot: The right side of a truck is particularly hazardous. This blind spot extends from the cab’s rear and spreads outwards, covering multiple lanes. Given its size, it’s advisable to avoid lingering on a truck’s right side, especially when it’s signaling a right turn.
  • Left Side Blind Spot: The left side, or the driver’s side, has a smaller blind spot compared to the right. It begins from the cab and extends to the rear of the trailer but is narrower. This makes the left side generally safer for overtaking.

In conclusion, when passing a commercial truck, it’s safer to do so on the left side. However, always ensure you can see the truck’s mirrors, as this means the driver can likely see you. And remember, whether passing on the left or right, always do so swiftly and safely to minimize the time spent in the truck’s blind spots.

Fatality Facts 2021: Large Trucks

Most deaths in large truck crashes are passenger vehicle occupants due to the vulnerability of people traveling in smaller vehicles. Trucks often weigh 20-30 times as much as passenger cars and have a higher ground clearance, which can result in smaller vehicles underriding trucks in crashes. Truck braking capability and driver fatigue are also significant factors in truck crashes.

  • Trends: In 2021, 4,714 people died in large truck crashes, marking a 17% increase compared to 2020. The breakdown of these deaths is as follows:
    • 16% were truck occupants
    • 68% were occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles
    • 15% were pedestrians, bicyclists, or motorcyclists
  • Deaths in Two-Vehicle Crashes: 97% of vehicle occupants killed in two-vehicle crashes involving a passenger vehicle and a large truck in 2021 were occupants of the passenger vehicles.
  • Motor Vehicle Crash Deaths: 11% of all motor vehicle crash deaths in 2021 occurred in large truck crashes.
  • Deaths by Truck Type:
    • 74% of deaths in large truck crashes in 2021 were in crashes involving tractor-trailers.
    • 27% were in crashes involving single-unit trucks.
  • Deaths by Time of Day: 50% of large truck crash deaths in 2021 occurred from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Deaths by Day of the Week: 16% of large truck crash deaths in 2021 occurred on Saturday and Sunday.
  • Comparison with Passenger Vehicles:
    • 52% of large truck occupant deaths in 2021 occurred in crashes where their vehicles rolled over.
    • 58% of large truck occupant deaths in 2021 occurred in single-vehicle crashes.
  • Seat Belt Use: 49% of fatally injured large truck drivers in 2021 were using seat belts.

This data provides a comprehensive overview of the fatalities involving large trucks in 2021. The statistics highlight the significant risks associated with large truck crashes, especially for occupants of passenger vehicles.

The Trucking Industry: How Many U.S. Citizens are Truck Drivers?

The trucking industry is the backbone of the U.S. economy, ensuring that goods are transported efficiently across the country. From the food we eat to the clothes we wear, trucks play a pivotal role in delivering essential items to our doorsteps. But have you ever wondered about the individuals behind the wheel? How many U.S. citizens are truck drivers?

A Growing Industry

The trucking industry has seen consistent growth over the years. As of recent data:

  • There are approximately 3.5 million professional truck drivers in the United States.
  • These drivers are responsible for transporting over 70% of the nation’s freight by weight.

Diverse Workforce

The trucking industry is not just about long-haul truckers. It encompasses a diverse range of drivers, including:

  • Long-Haul Truckers: These drivers often travel cross-country, spending days or even weeks on the road. They are responsible for transporting goods over long distances and usually drive tractor-trailers.
  • Short-Haul Truckers: These drivers typically operate within a specific region or state. They might make multiple deliveries in a single day and usually return home at night.
  • Specialized Truckers: Some drivers specialize in transporting specific types of goods, such as hazardous materials, refrigerated goods, or oversized loads.

Challenges and Rewards

Being a truck driver is not without its challenges. The job can be physically demanding, with long hours on the road, irregular sleep patterns, and the need to be constantly alert. However, for many, the rewards outweigh the challenges:

  • Independence: Many truckers appreciate the freedom and independence that comes with the job. They can set their own schedules and often enjoy the solitude of the open road.
  • Good Pay: With the increasing demand for truck drivers, many companies offer competitive salaries and benefits to attract and retain talent.
  • Job Security: Given the essential role truckers play in the U.S. economy, there’s always a demand for skilled drivers.

The trucking industry is a vital part of the U.S. economy, and truck drivers are at its heart. These hardworking individuals ensure that goods are delivered safely and on time, playing a crucial role in our daily lives. As the demand for goods continues to grow, so will the need for dedicated and skilled truck drivers.


What are the primary causes of commercial truck accidents?

The leading causes include driver fatigue, distracted driving, mechanical failures, improper cargo loading, and adverse weather conditions.

How do truck accidents differ from regular car accidents?

Truck accidents often result in more severe injuries and damages due to the truck’s size and weight. Additionally, the legal and insurance aspects can be more complex because of multiple parties involved, such as the truck driver, trucking company, and cargo shippers.

If I’m involved in a truck accident, should I immediately contact a lawyer?

Yes, it’s advisable to consult with a lawyer specializing in truck accidents as soon as possible. They can guide you through the legal process, help preserve evidence, and ensure your rights are protected.

How long do I have to file a lawsuit after a truck accident?

The timeframe, known as the statute of limitations, varies by state. However, it’s generally between one to three years from the date of the accident. It’s essential to consult with a lawyer promptly to ensure you don’t miss the deadline.

Can I still claim compensation if the truck accident was partly my fault?

In many states, the concept of “comparative negligence” applies. This means that even if you were partially at fault, you might still be entitled to compensation. However, the amount may be reduced based on your percentage of fault.


As we navigate the vast highways and local roads of our nation, the presence of commercial trucks is undeniable. These vehicles, essential to our economy, also bring with them a set of challenges and risks. Understanding commercial truck accident statistics is not just about numbers; it’s about recognizing the human lives impacted, the families affected, and the broader implications for road safety. The data underscores the importance of continuous efforts to improve road safety, from better driver training to improved vehicle technology. Awareness, education, and proactive measures can make a significant difference in reducing accidents and saving lives. If you or a loved one has been affected by a truck accident, it’s essential to know your rights and seek advice. Callender Bowlin is here to help. With a deep understanding of the complexities involved in truck accidents, our team is committed to ensuring justice for victims. Don’t hesitate to reach out for legal advice and support. Contact us at (713) 364-1128.