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.
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 strategize 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
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.