Truck Accident Statistics

With nearly 11 million commercial motor vehicles registered in the United States, heavy trucks and commercial buses make up large portion of the country’s highway traffic. Many of these vehicles – including tractor-trailers, delivery trucks, dump trucks, flatbeds and inter-city buses – log tens of thousands of miles each year.

TOP 10 Factors Contributing To Large Truck Crashes

  1. Brake problems
  2. Traffic flow interruption (congestion, previous crash)
  3. Prescription drug use
  4. Traveling too fast for conditions
  5. Unfamiliarity with the 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









A variety of factors can contribute to accidents involving large trucks. Many of them include some form of negligence or carelessness on the part of the truck driver or the company that owns and maintains the truck. For example, the FMCSA’s Large Truck Crash Causation Study identified prescription and OTC drug use, traveling too fast for conditions, unfamiliarity with the roadway, fatigue and inadequate surveillance as leading factors in truck accidents.

All of these could result from truck driver negligence. Some, such as brake problems and traveling too fast for conditions, could indicate that the trucking company was at fault. Failure to maintain equipment or pressing drivers to speed to meet unreasonable delivery deadlines could create liability on the part of the trucking company.

figure-drivingDriver negligence and shoddy vehicle maintenance are also among the top causes
of bus accidents, according to the FMCSA’s Bus Crash Causation Study. Inadequate surveillance, driver distraction and tailgating were among the leading types of driver negligence that contributed to bus crashes.

Icy roads were another leading factor, and a driver’s failure to slow down to account for slick roads could also amount to negligence.

Fires and problems with the brakes – both of which could be due to neglected bus maintenance – were also common factors. The owner of the bus could be liable for a crash if negligent maintenance played a role.

chartCrashes involving large trucks and buses have a huge economic cost, without even taking into account the emotional human toll. Statistics reveal  that commercial motor vehicle crashes caused $87 billion in losses during a single year. Nearly 45 percent of those losses stemmed from fatal accidents involving heavy trucks and buses.

Injury crashes involving commercial motor vehicles accounted for nearly 37 percent of the losses, and the rest was attributable to crashes with property damage only.

Large truck accidents claimed roughly
3,757 lives in a single year. Because
commercial trucks are so much heavier
than standard passenger vehicles – tractor-trailers weigh up to 80,000 pounds,
compared to 4,000 pounds for a typical car – the victims of fatal truck crashes are often occupants of other vehicles. Tragically, statistics show that deaths in large truck accidents are on the rise.


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