How Often Are Commercial Trucks Involved in Accidents?

By hauling raw materials and other goods both locally and long distance, commercial trucks play a crucial role in our nation’s economy. Regrettably, their enormous size, excessive braking distances, and fatigued drivers, also mean they also pose a serious accident risk. According to a recent study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, tractor-trailers are involved in more collisions than any other type of commercial truck. Dump trucks and garbage trucks were also involved in a significant number of accidents while tow trucks and cement mixers were involved in the fewest. If you were injured or a loved one was killed in an accident involving a commercial truck, reach out to the experienced Virginia Beach truck accident attorneys at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp to schedule a free case review. 

National Truck Accident Statistics

These truck accident statistics published by the NHTSA help shed some light on the frequency of trucking accidents in the United States.

There Were More Than 500,000 Commercial Truck Accidents in 2021

In 2021, 523,796 commercial truck accidents took place nationwide, a worrying increase from the 415,444 that took place the year before. Fortunately, most of these collisions did not cause fatalities or even injuries as 74.6% of the accidents that occurred in 2020 involved only property damage. Of course, 101,000 of these accidents still resulted in injuries and 4,444 were fatal.  

Tractor-Trailers Are Involved in More Deadly Accidents 

Truck accident data shows that tractor-trailers are more likely to be involved in fatal accidents than any other type of commercial truck. A tractor-trailer is defined by the FMCSA as a truck attached to a trailer that has no front axle. Out of the 523,796 commercial truck accidents that occurred in 2021, 53% involved tractor-trailers. The other 47% included every other type of commercial truck.   

HAZMAT Trucks Were Involved in Fewer Than 1% of Accidents

Commercial trucks haul every kind of good and raw material you can imagine, including dangerous cargo. Trucks that transport dangerous freight are known as HAZMAT trucks and they are beholden to numerous special federal safety regulations. In part, perhaps, due to these rigorous safety laws, accidents involving HAZMAT commercial trucks were not as prevalent as those involving other types of large commercial vehicles. In fact, only 0.64% of truck accidents in 2021 involved trucks hauling hazardous materials. 

Most Fatal Truck Accidents Happen in Rural Areas

Obviously, deadly commercial truck accidents can take place no matter where you are, but studies have shown that they occur more frequently in some areas than others. The same NHTSA study has revealed that rural locations are high-risk areas for these kinds of collisions. In 2021, 55% of all fatal commercial truck accidents took place in rural locales while only 45% took place in urban areas. 

Rural regions pose a lot of dangers to drivers. Dark and winding country lanes can promote drowsy driving. Drivers are also more likely to exceed the posted speed limit and commit other acts of negligence because these areas have less congestion and a smaller police presence, and the further into the country they go, the more often drivers will come across unmarked lanes and unmarked roads which can lead to sudden stops, illegal driving maneuvers, and general confusion.  

Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

A truck accident can have a considerably negative impact on a victim’s life. Many truck accident injuries are severe and come with lifelong repercussions. Since 1985, the knowledgeable Virginia Beach truck accident attorneys at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp have been successfully litigating commercial truck accident cases, such as the $2.4 million wrongful death settlement we achieved for the family of a man who died after his vehicle was hit by a tractor-trailer driver who made an unsafe lane change. 

If you were injured or a member of your family was killed in a commercial truck accident, you can schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. Call (833) 997-1774 or fill out our easy online contact form. Our offices are located in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Hampton.