Truck Accident Statistics

Truck accident statistics show that while fewer large trucks are involved in roadway accidents than passenger cars, the incidence of fatalities and the amount of damage is much greater. The large size of tractor trailer trucks makes damage and injuries nearly unavoidable when truck accidents occur. Approximately 500,000 trucking accidents occur per year in the United States, resulting in about 5,000 fatalities.

Collecting Truck Accident Statistics

The federal agencies that are responsible for collecting information about truck accidents and other driving statistics are braches of the United States Department of Transportation. These agencies include the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Federal Highway Administration, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The NHTSA and the FMCSA report statistics about all types of vehicle crashes and utilize the information to formulate future safety programs and regulations.

The FHWA primarily deals with accidents and regulations surrounding freight tonnage and vehicle miles traveled. Although not a government agency, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety also tracks and reports truck accident statistics. This numerical data may be available earlier than data compiled by the Department of Transportation.

2010 Truck Accident Statistics

Roughly 61 percent of all trucking accidents that result in fatalities occur on roads other than highways. While this may seem to be a surprising figure due to the number of miles traveled by trucks on the highway, the reason for fatalities on these types of roads is that there is less room to maneuver and avoid accidents. Once an accident has occurred, the road is often blocked, which can result in further accidents until the wreckage is cleared.

2010 Statistics from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety:

  • 3,413 fatalities occurred as a result of a truck accident
  • 75 percent of these fatalities involved a tractor trailer truck
  • 14 percent of fatalities were in a truck at the time of the accident
  • 72 percent of fatalities were in a passenger vehicle
  • 13 percent of fatalities were on motorcycles, bicycles, or walking

According to the Department of Transportation, in 2010, there were 1.1 fatal crashes per 100 miles driven by trucks. The FMCSA reports that less than two percent of these crashes were a result of driver fatigue, although driver fatigue is a major factor in truck accidents in general. Other factors contributing to truck accidents include intoxication of one or more drivers, mechanical failure, and distractions. The best way to prevent truck accidents is for all drivers to follow road rules, ensure proper awareness, and be courteous of other drivers.


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“Just Released: Research Notes, Crash Stats, and Reports.” NHTSA National Highway Traffic Safety Administration., 24 Sep 2013. Web. 22 Oct 2013. <>.

“Statistics and Facts.” Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. United States of America Department of Transportation, n.d. Web. 22 Oct 2013. <>.

“Truck Driving Accidents-Causes, Fatalitites, Statistics, and Costs.” National Owner-Operator Jobs. National Owner-Operator Jobs, n.d. Web. 22 Oct 2013. <>.