Commercial truck accident statistics

Commercial Truck Accident Statistics (2022 Update)

Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran

Commercial truck accidents happen less often than passenger vehicle collisions, but when they do, they can cause catastrophic injuries. If you are involved in a crash with a semi-truck, you can seek compensation with the help of an experienced truck accident attorney from Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C.

Discover the current stats on commercial truck accidents to help you stay safe on Michigan roads.

Truck Accident Statistics

Every year, multiple truck accidents occur in Michigan and the United States. The following statistics highlight the frequency of truck accidents and when and where they occur.

Number of Truck Accidents

According to the most recent traffic crash report released by Michigan State Police, there were 14,972 crashes involving large trucks or buses in 2021. 4,810 of these accidents involved semi-trucks, and 1,489 involved a truck with a trailer. There were 103 fatal accidents involving these vehicles, with 48 fatal crashes caused specifically by semi-trucks.

Nationally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported 439,206 police-reported big truck accidents in 2020. 4,842 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes, and 106,902 large trucks played a role in injury crashes.

Truck Accident Victims

Large trucks place vehicle occupants at much greater risk in the event of a collision. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), in 2020, occupants of passenger vehicles comprised 97% of deaths in fatal crashes with large trucks. Drivers of other large trucks were also at significant risk: 57% of large truck occupants who collided with another large truck died in the crash.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) offers the following statistics breaking down truck accident victims:

  • 53.4% were occupants of other large trucks
  • 21.5% were occupants of passenger vehicles
  • 21.2% were occupants of light trucks, like pickup trucks or SUVs
  • 3.2% were motorcyclists
  • 0.1% were occupants of buses
  • 0.6% were occupants of other vehicles unspecified by the FMCSA

Not everyone involved in a crash was operating a motor vehicle. The FMCSA reported that 7.9% of those killed in large truck accidents were pedestrians, and another 9.0% were bicyclists.

Where Truck Accidents Happen

Truckers haul cargo between states, leading to long drive times along interstates and rural roads. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that 27% of fatal collisions happened on interstates, and 55% occurred on rural roads. About 45% of truck crashes happen in urban areas, and 55% occur in rural areas, putting drivers at almost equal risk in both locations.

When Truck Collisions Occur

In Michigan, the highest number of semi-truck crashes occur in August, September, and October, with 1,363, 1,409, and 1,450 accidents, respectively. Weekdays proved the most dangerous, with accidents occurring most often on Tuesdays and less than half the number of accidents occurring on Saturdays and Sundays.

The highest number of accidents happen between noon and 2:59 p.m., with the wider range of 6 a.m. to 5:59 p.m. showing increased collisions than 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Commercial truck accidents often occur between Monday and Friday at the national level. The NHTSA reports that 76% of fatal crashes occur on a weekday, most often between 6 a.m. and 5:59 p.m., while crashes on the weekend typically occur between 6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m.

The IIHS similarly found that 16% of crashes occurred between 9 a.m. and noon, 17% between noon and 3 p.m., and 15% between 3 and 6 p.m.

Commercial truck accidents

What Causes Truck Accidents?

Multiple factors, including driver negligence, equipment failure, and poor road conditions, cause truck accidents. According to a comprehensive study of large truck crash causation factors from the FMCSA, the following elements result in truck accidents:

Large Truck Driver Negligence

87% of truck accidents in the study were caused by driver error. Critical errors included 12% non-performance, such as falling asleep, a medical emergency, or physical impairment, and 28% non-recognition, such as being inattentive or distracted or failing to observe the situation.

Another 38% of accidents were caused by poor decisions, such as speeding or following too closely, and 9% were related to performance errors, such as poor truck control or overcompensating when turning.

Specific negligent actions lead to the following percentage of accidents, per the FMCSA study:

  • 23% speeding
  • 22% unfamiliar with the roadway
  • 17% drug use (over-the-counter)
  • 14% inadequate surveillance
  • 10% driver fatigue
  • 9% illegal driving maneuvers
  • 9% distracted driving
  • 5% tailgating another vehicle
  • 5% jackknife
  • 3% driver illness or medical situation
  • 3% illegal drug or alcohol use

Environmental Factors

The FMCSA reported 3% of truck accidents were caused by the driving environment, with 20% occurring due specifically to roadway problems. Environmental factors include poor road maintenance from city or state departments, non-functioning traffic lights, improper traffic signs, or weather-related issues.

Vehicle Issues

Vehicle errors caused 10% of truck accidents in the FMCSA report. The study found that 29% of accidents happened due to vehicle brake problems, 4% were due to cargo shifting, and 6% were due to tire issues.

Legal Representation for Truck Accidents

If you are involved in a truck accident, seeking legal representation is vital. Per Michigan law, every driver must carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance to pay for medical expenses in an auto accident. However, the minimum coverage is $50,000, which will likely only pay for a portion of your medical expenses and lost wages resulting from a severe truck accident.

If your accident resulted in serious injuries, such as disfigurement or bodily function impairment, you can file a claim against the negligent party that caused the accident. However, seeking compensation from a truck driver or the truck company’s insurance company can be challenging.

Working with a skilled attorney from Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. can help you navigate the complexities of your truck accident case. For example, your attorney can help you determine who to sue in a truck accident, including the semi-truck driver, the trucking company, parts manufacturers, or mechanic.

We can investigate all areas of your accident to determine whether driver errors caused your injuries or if multiple parties are at fault.

Our attorneys can also help you estimate your damages to seek maximum compensation. Eileen Kroll, a senior partner at Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C., is also a registered nurse who can use her medical knowledge for your case. She can review your medical records from the crash to determine the extent of your injuries and the lifetime cost, so you don’t settle for less than you deserve.

Your legal team can negotiate with insurance companies to get a settlement that covers your current and future medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and attended care to help you recover. We will also pursue non-economic damages on your behalf, including pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.

Schedule a Free Consultation with Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C.

If you or a loved one suffers injuries in a commercial truck accident, seek help from an experienced attorney at Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. Truck accident cases often involve serious injuries and multiple liable parties. These factors require skilled representation to help you get the compensation you deserve.

Our attorneys understand the complexities of commercial truck collision cases. We have won millions for truck accident victims, including a $1.4 million settlement for a pedestrian struck by a commercial van and a $1.3 million settlement for the parents of a child killed in a semi-truck accident. We will work diligently on your case to help you win a fair settlement for you or your loved one’s injuries.

Our contingency fee basis means we only get paid if we win your case, so there is no financial risk to you to get started. Call our law firm today at 1-866-MICH-LAW (1-866-642-4529) and schedule your no-obligation, free case evaluation.

Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.

Lynn Mayfield is a writer and has worked in finance and education. Lynn earned her Master's Degree in Education and now writes informative articles for various legal organizations. She enjoys drinking coffee and spending time outdoors.

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