Truck Accident Statistics

Published on Feb 6, 2024 at 7:47 pm in Truck Accidents.

Truck Accident Statistics

Most of us share the road with commercial vehicles every time we get behind the wheel. But do you know just how dangerous it can be to drive alongside a tractor-trailer, delivery truck, or other big vehicle? A closer look at both nationwide and Kentucky truck accident statistics paints a grim picture of the risks that many of us face every day.

Nationwide Statistics

Big trucks crisscross the United States, traveling on interstates, highways, and local roads to transport and deliver goods. By sharing the road with commercial vehicles (CMVs), drivers and passengers are at risk of being involved in serious or even deadly accidents.

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), tractor-trailers and other big vehicles accounted for 9% of all motor vehicles in fatal collisions in 2021 but only 5% of all registered vehicles. Not only were CMVs overrepresented in fatal crashes, but the problem is only getting worse. In 2020, 4,821 semi-trucks were involved in deadly crashes. That number jumped to 5,700 the following year.

And in 2021, more than 155,000 people were injured, and another 5,788 were killed in big truck accidents.

Our team of Lexington truck accident attorneys represents both injury victims and families who have lost loved ones in what should have been preventable traffic collisions.

Kentucky Statistics

A nationwide snapshot of accidents caused by the trucking industry paints a broad picture. But at Peterson Law Office, we see the local impact on a regular basis.

Let’s review the following 2021 truck crash data from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC):

  • 10,105 big trucks were involved in collisions.
  • CMVs caused 10% of all fatal accidents and 5% of all injury crashes.
  • 43% of truck drivers involved in accidents were not residents of Kentucky (engaging in interstate trucking).

KYTC also collects data on the type of roadways on which CMV collisions are most likely to occur. In descending order, these are the roadways that see the highest number of big rig crashes:

  • Interstates
  • State routes
  • Parkways
  • County roads
  • City streets

The Most Common Causes of CMV Accidents

So, what types of truck accidents happen most frequently, and what types of injuries are most likely to occur?

In Kentucky in 2021, there were 694 truck-related factors in all reported collisions. From most to least common, these were:

  • Load securement
  • Tire failure
  • Defective brakes
  • Tow hitch failure
  • Oversized load
  • Steering failure
  • Other lighting defects
  • Overload/improper load
  • Defective headlights

“Other” was the largest contributing truck-related causal factor, as cited by the KYTC, a category that includes a variety of vehicle defects and problems.

Truck driver error contributed to a total of 9,225 collisions that same year. The top-cited errors were:

  • Alcohol use
  • Cell phone use
  • Disregard for traffic control
  • Distraction
  • Drug use
  • Emotional distress or upset
  • Speeding
  • Failure to yield the right of way
  • Fatigue
  • Asleep at the wheel
  • Following too closely (tailgating)
  • Improper backing/reversing
  • Improper passing
  • Inattention
  • Fainted/loss of consciousness
  • Prescription medication use
  • Misjudged clearance
  • Failure to maintain proper control
  • Oversteering/overcorrecting
  • Sickness
  • Driving too fast for conditions
  • Improper turning
  • Weaving in and out of traffic

Both motor carriers and truck drivers should prioritize safety. Employers can do this by properly screening and training drivers, creating reasonable delivery schedules, and properly maintaining their fleets. Drivers can also do their part by getting adequate sleep, following the rules of the road, and abstaining from drugs and alcohol while on duty.

Accidents & Injuries Associated with Tractor-Trailer Crashes

Truck crashes can take many different forms, including:

  • Head-on collisions
  • Rear-end collisions
  • Underride accidents
  • Override accidents
  • Rollover accidents
  • Jackknife accidents
  • Tire blowouts
  • Load spills
  • Blindspot accidents

So why does the type of accident you were involved in matter? Depending on the type of crash, liability may be assumed and assigned without much investigation. For example, a rear-end collision is almost always considered to be the fault of the following vehicle.

However, we know that real-life accidents are often much more nuanced. If you’ve been seriously injured in a collision with a big truck, it’s important that your attorney conducts a thorough and in-depth investigation to determine who or what caused the crash.

Otherwise, you risk losing out on compensation for your injuries because you’ve been unfairly blamed for an accident you didn’t cause.

Taking Action After a Truck Accident

Were you involved in a truck accident as either a driver or passenger? If another party was at fault, you have the right to recover compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and more.

Despite statistics showing that many of these accidents are the fault of the trucker or their employer, trucking companies often do everything in their power to limit or deny liability altogether. But Peterson Law Office doesn’t let them get away with it. Our team of legal experts proudly stands up for our clients, upholding and protecting their rights no matter what the big insurance companies might throw their way.

Call or contact us online for a completely free consultation, and we’ll guide you through your legal options following a collision with a big truck.


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