What Percentage of Accidents Are Caused by Trucks?

An accident scene where a white semi hit a passenger car

Trucks make up 4.3% of the vehicles on the road¹, with that number jumping to as much as 25% in busy highway corridors. Are they safer or less safe than other motor vehicles? How many accidents happen each year involving large trucks? Can victims file a truck accident lawsuit for compensation?

Our truck accident attorneys know how important vehicle safety is for everybody on the road. To help, our team shares more about truck accident statistics.

What Percentage of Crashes Are Truck

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 9.8% of vehicles² involved in fatal crashes are large trucks. They are more likely to be involved in fatal accidents than passenger cars due to their size and weight.

In addition, truck drivers are at fault in 44% of two-vehicle crashes involving trucks, as reported by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)³. They also share that when the truck is the cause of the accident,  the critical error was driver recognition or decision making 75% of the time.

Are Fatal Truck Crashes on the Rise?

Graph of fatal accidents involving large trucks

The National Safety Council⁴ reported that 5,005 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes in 2019. Between 2010 and 2019, there was a 43% increase in the number of trucks involved in deadly crashes. Large trucks have a GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating) of +10,000 lbs., including commercial and non-commercial vehicles.

What Percent of Fatal Crashes Involve Large Trucks?

The National Safety Council also shares that 10% of fatal crashes involve large trucks.

Only 4% of registered vehicles are large trucks, but they are 10% of the vehicles involved in fatal crashes. A large truck is more likely to be in a deadly crash than other types of motor vehicles.

In Truck Accidents, What Are the Fatalities by Vehicle Type?

In motor vehicle accidents involving trucks, passenger vehicle occupants are the most likely to suffer a fatality⁵. In truck crashes, the fatalities by vehicle type are:

  • 17.8% – in the involved truck
  • 70.8% – in the other vehicle
  • 11.4% – not in a vehicle

Trucks weigh many times more than a typical passenger car. The difference in size contributes to disproportionate fatalities for occupants of passenger vehicles in truck accidents.

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What Factors Contribute to High Truck Accident and Injury Rates?

Truckload and the ability to stop a large truck are leading contributors to accidents and injuries. A heavy load gives a truck driver a longer stopping distance. In addition, driver fatigue is a common contributing factor. Even though drivers are supposed to limit driving hours and make sure they get periodic rest, many drivers report feeling pressured to drive too many hours.

Do Truck Crashes Commonly Involve Alcohol?

A person holding a beer sitting in front of a stearing wheel

Truck crashes commonly involve alcohol—but not how you might think. It is usually not the truck driver who is the one drinking. Only a small percentage of truck drivers killed in crashes have a bodily alcohol content at the time of the crash. In contrast, a significant percentage of passenger vehicle operators drank before the crash.

Here are more details from FMCSA and IIHS:

  • Illegal drug and alcohol use are uncommon causes of truck driver fault. Only .04% of truck drivers in accidents have illegal drug use as a contributing factor, while .03% of truck drivers in accidents have alcohol as a contributing factor.
  • However, prescription drug use is a leading contributor to accidents caused by truck drivers, with as many as 28.7% of two-vehicle crashes having prescription drug use by the truck driver as a contributing factor.
  • Only 3% of truck drivers killed in fatal accidents have a bodily alcohol content over .08 at the time of the crash, while as many as 28% of passenger vehicle drivers have a bodily alcohol content greater than .08 at the time of the crash.
  • Of 600 truck driver fatalities in 2019, only 16 had a BAC over the legal limit for all drivers (.08). On the other hand, 4,768 passenger vehicle operators had a BAC over the legal limit when the crash occurred.

Who Is the Most Likely To Be Injured in a Truck-Car Accident?

In accidents involving trucks and passenger cars, injuries occur at the highest rates for those in passenger cars. Here are the numbers from the National Safety Council:

  • 28.7% – in the truck
  • 68.8% – in the other vehicle
  • 2.5% – not in a vehicle

There are high fatality rates for victims who are pedestrians and bicyclists at the time of the crash. Most truck accident victims, whether injuries or fatalities, are riding in a passenger vehicle at the time of the crash. Working with an experienced truck accident lawyer can help you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries and suffering.

Schedule a FREE Consultation, Let us help you get the compensation you deserve after a truck accident.

Are Fatal Truck Crashes More Common in Rural or Urban Areas?

Truck crashes happen roughly equally in urban and rural areas. In 2019, 56.65% of truck accidents occurred in rural areas, while 43.35% of truck crashes occurred in urban areas. (National Safety Council)

Are Fatal Truck Crashes More Common on the Interstate or Other Roads?

The National Safety Council also reports:

  • 74.91% of truck crashes happen on non-interstate roads
  • 25.09% of truck crashes occur on an interstate
  • 5.54% of truck crashes occur in work zones

Are Light Trucks or Heavy Trucks More Often Involved in Fatal Crashes?

NHTSA⁶ says of the 51,247 vehicles involved in fatal crashes in 2019:

  • 38.7% were light trucks
  • 9.8% were heavy trucks
  • 38.2% were passenger cars

In Florida in 2019, 7.2% of the vehicles involved in fatal crashes were trucks. There were 4,745 total vehicles involved in fatal crashes in Florida in 2019.

Does a Truck Driver Have To Pay Compensation for a Crash?

A person accepting a check from an accident attorney

Truck crashes usually involve serious injuries. If you are the victim of a truck accident or have lost a loved one to wrongful death, you may deserve monetary compensation. Contact a truck accident law firm to see if you qualify to file a legal claim and what your case may be worth.

Truck drivers are commercial operators who drive heavy vehicles. For both reasons, they have a high duty of care to exercise reasonable caution when on the roads. If you are hurt because of the actions of a truck driver or trucking company, our team has the best truck accident lawyers in Florida who can help you claim compensation.

Is There a Truck Accident Lawyer Near Me?

Our Tampa team of semi-truck accident lawyers understand Florida law and know what steps to take to get you the maximum settlement for your case. Whether you were involved in a tractor-trailer crash, a dump truck accident, a semi-truck collision, or a FedEx truck accident today or recently, contact our attorneys for a free consultation on your case.

Learn how we can help you get the maximum settlement for your injuries.


¹Face the Facts USA, George Washington University. (10 January 2013). Get the numbers of that truck. Retrieved 28 March 2022.

²National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). All Vehicles. Retrieved 28 March 2022.

³Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. (FMCSA). (March 2006). Report to Congress on Large Truck Crash Causation Study. Retrieved 28 March 2022.

⁴National Safety Council (NSC). Injury Facts Large Trucks. Retrieved 28 March 2022.

⁵Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). (March 2021). Fatality Facts 2019 Large Trucks. Retrieved 28 March 2022.

⁶National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). (May 2021). Traffic Safety Facts. Retrieved 28 March 2022.