National Trucking Accidents Statistics

In 2016, large trucks traveled 287.9 billion miles—slightly less than 10 percent of the total miles traveled by motor vehicles that year.

To be classified as a large truck, a motor vehicle must weigh at least 10,000 pounds. A typical commercial motor (CMV) large truck driver drives faster and must compensate for a longer stopping distance than the passenger cars with which he shares the road.

Stack these facts on top of one another, and the number of safety concerns around trucking accidents begins to tower. Below we include national trucking accidents statistics.

Trucking Accidents in the U.S.

FMCSA Data Gives Insight Into the State of Trucking Accidents in the U.S.

To improve motor carrier safety, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) stays on top of crashes, fatalities, and injuries involving commercial motor vehicles (CMVs).

The data FMCSA gathers offer an enlightening glimpse into the trucking world and gives us a better understanding of these vehicles with whom we share our roadways, the drivers who operate them, the carriers who manage them, and the accidents that happen with them.

By grasping the big picture of the trucking industry, as well as its finer details, we can better strategist how to approach personal injury matters that arise from collisions with these vehicles—which tend to have catastrophic, and often fatal results.

In this blog entry, we are highlighting some facts we gleaned from FMCSA’s 2018 Large Truck and Bus Statistics report to educate our readers toward this end.

Understanding Trucking in the U.S.

By comprehending the nature of employment for these trucks, we can trace a path of liability when they cause accidents.

Data from December 2017 shows that within the population of 543,061 interstate motor carriers and intrastate HM motor carriers:

  • 292,184 were for-hire carriers
  • 197,126 were private carriers
  • 50,000 were both for-hire and private carriers
  • 3,751 were neither for-hire nor private carriers (e.g., government).

Understanding Truck Drivers (aka Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Drivers

Around 6.1 million* CMV drivers occupy the United States’ roadways. Of these drivers:

  • 3.7 million operate interstate (52 percent of which hold CDLs)
  • 2.4 million operate intrastate (16 percent of which hold CDLs)

Inspections and Violations of CMV Vehicles and Drivers

FMCSA requires that CMVs and their operators undergo routine checks by authorized safety inspectors (state or Federal). These inspections determine whether both the vehicle and its driver follow Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs).

Upon discovering that either the truck or the operator is not in compliance, the inspector can issue an out-of-service order for the truck, the driver, or both. Drivers who are in OOS status cannot drive a CMV for ten consecutive hours. The driver or motor carrier must correct any violations for vehicles that are in OSS status before they can return to service. The purpose of an out-of-order issuance is intended to remove imminent hazards to public safety.

If a CDL driver or CMV were ordered “out-of-service” at the time of an accident, this information could play into findings of liability for a personal injury claim or lawsuit.

The following statistics were reported for 2017 inspections, according to FMCSA:

  • Driver Inspections – 171,052 drivers (5.12 percent) had at least one OSS violation
  • Vehicle Inspections – 493,198 vehicles (20.74 percent) had at least one OSS violation
  • Hazmat Inspections – 7,930 (3.97 percent) had at least one OSS violation

Injuries from Trucking Accidents in the U.S.

In 2017, 7.4 percent of U.S. roadway crashes involved at least one large truck or bus. This data came from police reports of accidents in which there were no fatalities, but at least one individual had either:

  • An incapacitating injury
  • A visible but not incapacitating injury
  • A possible, not visible injury
  • An injury of unknown severity

In 2016, NHTSA reports 475,000 crashes involved large trucks. Of this number:

  • 104,000 were injury crashes, injuring 145,000 people and involving 110,000 large trucks (meaning more than one large truck were involved in several accidents)
  • 367,000 were property-damage-only (PDO) crashes

High Incidence of Fatalities in Trucking Accidents

In 2017, 11.8 percent of U.S. fatal crashes involved at least one large truck or bus.

Given the size and weight difference between large trucks and just about anything else on the road, accidents involving a large truck are likely to create more serious injuries and generate more fatalities than other accidents.

For the report and this blog, an accident is considered fatal when at least one person involved in the crash died within 30 days of the crash from the injuries sustained in the accident. The death did not necessarily occur at the accident scene.

The following figures show large truck accident fatalities in 2016:

Fatality Involved Occupant of a…Number of Fatalities
Passenger Car1,525
Light Truck1,288
Large Truck722
Nonmotorist: Pedestrian364
Nonmotorist: Pedalcyclist87
Nonmotorist: Other/Unknown17


Although 95 percent of all large truck fatal crashes did not happen in a work zone,

Twenty-seven percent of all work-zone fatal crashes involved at least one large truck.

Release of Hazardous Materials (HM) Cargo in Crashes Involving Large Trucks

When a large truck carries hazardous materials like flammable liquids or corrosives, the right type of collision can result in those materials escaping into the surrounding environment, posing an additional hazard to accident victims.

Here are the number of times various types of HM cargo released during large truck crashes in 2017:

  • Corrosives: 30
  • Explosives: 10
  • Flammable Liquid: 203
  • Flammable Solids: 6
  • Gases: 50
  • Miscellaneous Dangerous Goods: 34
  • Oxidizing Substances: 1
  • Poison & Infectious Substances: 8
  • Radioactive Material: 1
  • Unknown: 109

The High Cost of Trucking Accidents in the U.S.

Trucking accidents can devastate—individuals and families alike. The injuries and fatalities that result from trucking accidents create much pain and suffering. They also prove quite costly.

These numbers reflect just how much financial devastation followed the nation’s trucking accidents in 2016:

  • $47 billion: fatal crashes
  • $56 billion: injury crashes
  • $31 billion: PDO crashes

A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You Recover Your Trucking Accident Damages

If you were injured in a trucking accident caused by the negligence of a truck driver or motor carrier, you deserve to be compensated. The trucking accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato will work efficiently and compassionately to see that you recover your damages. Call us today for a free consultation: 954-633-8270.


Eric Rosado2018 National Trucking Accidents Statistics
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Commercial Truck Accidents Settlements 

These five large settlements and verdicts for commercial truck accidents show how personal injury law goes to work when carriers, corporations, and parts manufacturers are negligent in their safety-related duties—and people are injured or killed as a result.

#1: Tracey Morgan vs. Walmart

Settlement: $90 million*

In 2014, media outlets thrust the trucking industry into the national spotlight when a fatigued Walmart truck driver smashed into a limo carrying comedians “Jimmy Mack” McNair and Tracy Morgan, and other passengers. McNair died as a result of the accident and Morgan sustained severe injuries, including traumatic brain injury (TBI) and several broken bones.

Truck driver Kevin Roper had been driving 28 hours when he collided with the limo driving 65 mph in a 45-mph work zone. Roper’s fatigue played a role in the accident, according to reports from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), and he “abdicated” his duties to take reasonable measures to protect the safety of other roadway occupants by engaging in two behaviors:

  • Driving beyond the 14-hour duty limit
  • Speeding

None of the limo passengers were wearing seat belts or head restraints, a factor that contributed to their injuries.

*Walmart agreed to a $10 million settlement to McNair’s children. The retail giant also settled with Morgan for an undisclosed amount, but court documents suggest the amount exceeded $90 million.

#2: Kim Deloach McQuaig vs. Total Transportation

Settlement: $80 million

When a tractor-trailer driven by John Wayne Johnson collided into the back of an SUV in 2015, it served as the catalyst for a chain-reaction, multi-vehicle wreck on Georgia’s I-16. Six vehicles were involved in the crash, and five nursing students died as a result.

The mother of one of these students filed a wrongful death civil lawsuit against Johnson’s employer, a carrier called Total Transportation. The lawsuit stated that Johnson breached his duty of care with the following actions:

  • Following too closely behind the vehicle in front of him
  • Driving at excessive speeds for the highway conditions
  • Failing to maintain an adequate and appropriate lookout
  • Driving without regard for existing hazards

The suit also alleged that Total Transportation exhibited negligence by requiring Johnson to wait for 10 hours at the terminal before his truck was ready, then sending him to drive overnight to Savannah, GA, without verifying he was in good condition to drive.

#3: Hoang Le vs. TM Kovacevich International and Weldone Trailer Repair

Settlement: $16.5 Million

In 2015, Hoang Le was driving along I-95 when he noticed that a truck’s diesel fuel tank had dropped and spilled fuel on the highway. To avoid the spill, Le pulled onto the shoulder. Another oncoming vehicle ran across the spill, lost control of his vehicle, and collided with Le.

Le sustained multiple injuries, including traumatic brain injury, requiring several surgeries and physical therapy treatments. Medical professionals evaluated him and found him to be disabled, meaning he could no longer work or drive.

In this action, the plaintiff alleged that:

  • Defendant TM Kovacevich (TMK) International, a produce wholesaler, failed in its duty of care to ensure that its trucks were safe to drive
  • Defendant Weldone Trailer Repair failed in its duty of care to repair and inspect the truck in a way that would have prevented the fuel tank from dropping

The defendants pointed their fingers to each other, with each alleging that the responsibility ultimately fell to the other party. The final settlement breakdown resulted in Weldone shouldering $950,000 of the $16.5 million settlement and TMK footing the rest of the bill.

#4: Ramiro Munoz Family and Estate vs. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co

Verdict: $33 Million to Plaintiff

In 2013, a cement truck experienced a tire blow-out, rolled over, and “slid down the road,” resulting in a crash that killed Ramiro Munoz.

Munoz’s family and estate filed a wrongful death civil lawsuit against Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., alleging that defective tires caused the accident. The plaintiffs also named DGJ Transport Inc., the carrier for the cement truck, as a defendant in the lawsuit.

An inspection of the left front tire on the cement truck revealed a catastrophic tread separation, a manufacturing defect that the jury determined was a “producing cause of the death.” Accordingly, the jury assigned 90 percent of the responsibility to Goodyear.

#5: Joshua Patterson vs. FTS International

Verdict: $101 Million to Plaintiff

Truck driver William Acker plowed his truck carrying frac sand for oil services company FTS International into Joshua Patterson’s pickup truck.

Although Patterson survived the collision and reported no injuries to the investigating police officer, he eventually was forced to undergo a series of chiropractic treatments and have back surgery on the discs in his neck. The injuries ultimately left Patterson unable to continue his work as a crane operator.

A jury found that FTS was liable for Patterson’s injuries and damages because:

  • FTS violated its policy to not hire a driver who had three or more violations within three years of their date of hire.
  • FTS had not provided Acker with safety training.

The jury also found Acker liable for a portion of the damages because he had tested positive for both marijuana and methamphetamine after the accident.

All of the award (approximately $75 million of which involved punitive damages against FTS) was levied against FTS, with the exception of $50,000, which the jury levied against Acker.

We Can Champion Your Rights in Your Commercial Truck Accident Claim or Lawsuit

The Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato want to help you pursue the compensation you deserve in your commercial truck lawsuit, personal injury lawsuit, or wrongful death action. Our staff is responsive, caring, and attentive. We will handle your case professionally and with dignity.


Eric RosadoFive Large Settlements for Commercial Truck Accidents
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Who Can Be Held Liable for a Car Accident In Florida?

After a car accident that was caused by a negligent driver, it may seem like common sense that the driver should be held liable for damages. You should know, however, that in some situations the law can assign liability to another person or company who may not have even been present at the time of the accident. It is important for accident victims to know who exactly can be held liable in any situation in order to gain the compensation they deserve.

Vicarious Liability

If an employee causes an accident while on the job, the employer can be held liable for the employee’s actions. For example, if some driving a company car for company related business runs a red light and causes an accident, the employer can be held responsible and be liable for damages for any injury or property damage. Vicarious liability is common in commercial truck accidents where a trucking company is held liable for the actions of truck drivers.

Negligent Entrustment

Negligent entrustment can occur when a person loans his or her car to a person who may be unfit to drive. This can occur when a car is loaned to a person who is intoxicated, unlicensed, underage, inexperienced, elderly, ill or has a history of reckless driving. If a person is aware that the person driving his or her car should not be trusted to drive responsibly, that person can be responsible for damages.

Negligent entrustment can also apply to the parents of teenage driver. It is possible for parents to be held liable for a car accident caused by one of their children. If a parent lets their licensed child drive the family car, even though the parent knows the child’s inexperience and immaturity can make him or her unfit to drive responsibly, then the parents can be liable for damages in the event of an accident.

For more information regarding your rights following a car accident, contact an experienced car accident attorney from Wolf & Pravato at 1-954-633-8270.

Eric RosadoWho Can Be Held Liable for a Car Accident?
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How do I tell if the truck driver or his or her employer was liable for my injuries in a Boynton Beach truck accident?

Discussing an 18-wheeler accident with an 18 wheeler accident lawyer in Boynton Beachat Wolf & Pravato can help you determine truck accident liability. Liability may lie with the driver, his or her employer, or both. In some cases, the truck driver’s careless or reckless actions may be discovered to be the cause of your crash.

If one of the following was obvious, then this will likely be key in establishing his or her liability for damages stemming from the accident: 

  • the driver fell asleep at the wheel;
  • the truck driver was intoxicated; or
  • the truck driver broke a traffic law.

Truck driver negligence comes in many forms such as speeding, texting while driving, and failing to yield, among others. In many circumstances, the driver will be the only one liable for your injuries.

However, the owners of the company could also be found at fault depending on the circumstances of the accident. For instance, federal trucking regulations mandate the number of hours a driver can operate a commercial vehicle.

If it was found the driver exceeded the time allowed behind the wheel and the employer was aware, or even required it, this could lead to liability for both parties.

Another example would be if the employer knew the driver wasn’t adequately trained or had a history of driving violations. Foreknowledge of insufficient training or violations could lead to responsibility on the employer’s part.

If dealing with an 18-wheeler accident, your lawyer in Boynton Beach will workto uncover liability for your accident and injuries including: 

  • retrieving information from the black box of the truck;
  • the driver’s logbook; and
  • employee work records.

Contacting a Lawyer after an 18-Wheeler Crash

Establishing truck accident liability can be a challenge and will usually require time to collect evidence. This is why you should get started on your case as soon as possible. A lawyer in Boynton Beach at the Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato can review your 18-wheeler accident. So don’t delay, call us to schedule an appointment – 561-686-0520 or 954-633-8270.

Eric RosadoHow do I tell if the truck driver or his or her employer was liable for my injuries in a Boynton Beach truck accident?
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Talking with a truck accident lawyer in Fort Lauderdale may help determine accident liability when you or a loved one has suffered serious or fatal injuries in a truck crash. You may be able to seek compensation through a truck accident claim.

Liability is often assumed to lie with the driver of the truck. While that can be the case, there are other parties that also could be at fault for the collision. Proving who acted in a negligent manner will help determine accident liability. It could be that the driver was texting at the time of the crash or had spent too many hours behind the wheel and fell asleep.

Other than the driver, or in addition to the driver, the employer may be found responsible. If company policies were violated, or the employer was aware of a problem with the driver (such as inadequate training) yet didn’t address it, this could place some of the blame on the company that employs him or her.

If the truck or trailer was owned by another party, and there was a problem with the truck, it could lead to the other party being held liable. An example would be if the truck wasn’t properly inspected, and it was discovered a tire blowout was caused by worn tires, the truck owner could be held responsible.

If there was a defect in the parts or equipment of the truck, the manufacturing company may be found at fault. Shippers and loaders could be responsible if the truck was loaded improperly.

There can be a lot of finger-pointing when it comes to assigning fault after an accident involving a large commercial truck. This is why it is important to secure legal counsel from the start of your truck accident claim. A truck accident lawyer in Fort Lauderdale will make sure you understand the claims process and what you can expect to happen.

Contacting a Fort Lauderdale Truck Accident Lawyer 

To learn about your legal rights regarding your truck accident claim, contact an attorney at the Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato. Call our office at 1-954-522-5800 or 1-954-633-8270 to schedule your consultation.

Eric RosadoAccident Liability in a Fort Lauderdale Truck Accident Claim
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