Commercial Vehicle AccidentsThe Statistics Behind The Most Common Commercial Vehicle Accidents

May 5, 20170

The statistics behind commercial vehicle accidents are alarming; if you have been injured in a commercial vehicle accident, you may be entitled to compensation.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, transportation and material moving resulted in more fatalities than any other occupation in 2015, reaching 1,301 fatalities. Included in this number are the 745 deaths of truck drivers who were killed on the job. Semi-truck accidents are a regular occurrence throughout the country. Understanding these statistics may be helpful if you require a semi-truck accident attorney.


Before we dive into the statistics behind the most common commercial vehicle accidents, it is worth examining the scope of semi-truck activity in the United States.

  • 1.1 million semi-trucks are on the road, including for-hire, owner-operators, and private carriers.
  • More than $8.3 trillion worth of goods are hauled every year across the United States.
  • More than 11 billion tons of freight are moved each year.

It is estimated that there are 500,000 accidents involving a semi-truck per year. This results in an average of 1.1 fatal crashes per every 100 million transportation miles.

report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that in 2010:

  • 3,413 people died in accidents that involved a semi-truck.
  • Of these people, 14% were the occupants of the semi-truck.
  • 72% were occupants of other vehicles.
  • 13% were motorcycles drivers or pedestrians.

This same report discovered that large trucks account for 4% of registered vehicles, but account for 9% of all motor vehicle fatalities. Each of these statistics indicates that there is great room for improvement within the trucking and transportation industry.


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has coded the different elements involved with semi-truck accidents. These are separated into two categories: critical reason and critical events.

A critical event is when something puts the semi-truck in a direct collision course. The critical event is assigned to the vehicle that made the collision inevitable. There are three major types of critical events assigned to semi-trucks:

1. Running out of the lane. This applies to any situation in which the truck exits the lane. It is estimated that 32% of semi-truck accidents are assigned to this critical event code.

2. Lost control of a vehicle due to traveling too fast. This code is applied in critical events where there is an accident due to traveling too quickly based on the road conditions and amount of cargo being towed. It is estimated that this accounts for 29% of semi-truck accidents.

2. Rear-end collision with another vehicle in the same lane. Any rear-end collision with a vehicle in the same lane is given this code. Approximately 22% of semi-truck accidents are given this code.

A critical reason is the immediate cause of the critical event. The critical reason is assigned to the vehicle that caused the critical event. There are several types of critical reasons, most commonly: driver error (87% of crashes), vehicle failure (10% of crashes), or environmental condition (3% of crashes).

More than 100,000 people are injured every year in semi-truck crashes. If you have been in a semi-truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation. The amount of compensation will depend on a variety of factors, including who was at fault and the cause for the accident. Make sure that you read our tips for receiving a better settlement offer.

Have you been involved in an accident with a semi-truck? Contact Caddell Reynolds if you need a semi-truck accident attorney in Arkansas or Oklahoma, or call us at 800-671-4100. Our qualified attorneys in Arkansas or Oklahoma can help you receive the settlement amount that is just and fair.

Call 800-671-4100 24 hours a day, 7 days a week