Accidents Happen!


It is understood that accidents happen. Sometimes it is someone’s fault and sometimes it isn’t but when it comes to accidents and semi-trucks, accidents can be a very serious matter. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there have been an alarmingly high number of semi-truck accidents. 


This chapter contains information on the circumstances of large truck crashes. Below is a summary of some of the information in this section:

  • Of the approximately 317,000 police-reported crashes involving large trucks in 2012, 3,464 (1 percent) resulted in at least one fatality, and 73,000 (23 percent) resulted in at least one nonfatal injury.
  • Single-vehicle crashes made up 21 percent of all fatal crashes, 15 percent of all injury crashes, and 22 percent of all property damage only crashes involving large trucks in 2012. The majority (63 percent) of fatal large truck crashes involved two vehicles.
  • Almost two-thirds (63 percent) of all fatal crashes involving large trucks occurred on rural roads, and 24 percent occurred on rural and urban Interstate highways.
  • Thirty-six percent of all fatal crashes, 23 percent of all injury crashes, and 18 percent of all property damage only crashes involving large trucks occurred at night (6:00 pm to 6:00 am).
  • The vast majority of fatal crashes (83 percent) and nonfatal crashes (89 percent) involving large trucks occurred on weekdays (Monday through Friday).
  • Collision with a vehicle in transport was the first harmful event (the first event during a crash that caused injury or property damage) in 74 percent of fatal crashes involving large trucks, 83 percent of injury crashes involving large trucks, and 77 percent of property damage only crashes involving large trucks.
  • Rollover was the first harmful event in 5 percent of all fatal crashes involving large trucks and 3 percent of all nonfatal crashes involving large trucks.
  • In 2012, 24 percent of work zone fatal crashes and 13 percent of work zone injury crashes involved at least one large truck.
  • There were 11 fatal large truck crashes per million people in the United States in 2012.

This chapter contains information on drivers of large trucks in fatal, injury, and property damage only crashes and on people killed or injured in large truck crashes. Some statistics are also listed for passenger vehicle drivers in order to make comparisons. It is important to note that the number of large truck drivers in crashes is not exactly equal to the number of large trucks in crashes, because no driver information is provided for some crashes. Below is a summary of some of the information in this section:

  • Of the 3,753 drivers of large trucks involved in fatal crashes, 206 (5 percent) were 25 years of age or younger, and 196 (5 percent) were 66 years of age or older. In comparison, 9 (4 percent) of the 244 drivers of buses in fatal crashes were 25 years of age or younger, and 22 (9 percent) were 66 years of age or older.
  • About 3 percent of all the drivers of large trucks involved in fatal crashes were female, as compared with 30 percent of all drivers of buses involved in fatal crashes.Of the 3,753 drivers of large trucks involved in fatal crashes, 349 (9 percent) were not wearing a safety belt at the time of the crash; of those, 26 percent were completely or partially ejected from the vehicle.
  • One or more driver-related factors were recorded for 55 percent of the drivers of large trucks involved in single-vehicle fatal crashes and for 27 percent of the drivers of large trucks involved in multiple-vehicle fatal crashes. In comparison, at least one driver-related factor was recorded for 72 percent of the drivers of passenger vehicles (cars, vans, pickup trucks, and sport utility vehicles) involved in single-vehicle crashes and 51 percent of the passenger vehicle drivers in multiple-vehicle crashes. Speeding was the most often coded driver-related factor for both vehicle types; distraction/inattention was the second most common for large truck drivers, and impairment (fatigue, alcohol, illness, etc.) was the second most common for passenger vehicle drivers.
  • There were 697 large truck occupant fatalities in 2012, of which 85 percent were drivers of large trucks and 15 percent were passengers in large trucks.

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