Commercial truck accidents injure and kill people every day. Due to the large weight and size of a big rig, the victims are often the people in the passenger car. The more that is known about truck accidents and why they occur, the more they can be prevented. State and federal organizations collect data on large truck accidents each year to shed light on these disasters.
How Many Truck Accidents Take Place Each Year?
The agency that is in charge of establishing and enforcing commercial truck or common carrier regulations is known as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA. According to the most recent crash data collected by the FMCSA (from 2020), 4,842 large trucks were involved in fatal accidents nationwide. This was a 4 percent decrease from 5,033 fatal truck accidents in 2019.
The number of large trucks that were involved in injury accidents was around 107,000. This was a 10 percent decrease from 2019. Finally, there were 327,000 large trucks involved in property damage only crashes – a 21 percent decrease from 2019. Large trucks accounted for 9 percent of all vehicles involved in fatal crashes. Although the number of truck accidents decreased, 2020’s numbers still represented a 33 percent increase from 2011.
In a collision between a commercial truck and a passenger car, the victims in the car are more at risk of suffering serious and fatal injuries4. According to the National Safety Council, in 2020, 68 percent of truck accident fatalities were occupants of other vehicles. Truck occupants accounted for 30 percent of the deaths, while nonoccupants accounted for 2 percent.
Truck Accident Rates in Colorado
The State of Colorado had 74 fatal crashes involving large trucks in 2020, as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). In addition, 393 fatal accidents involved light trucks, such as pickup trucks. Commercial truck accidents represented 8.4 percent of all fatal collisions in Colorado in 2020. A breakdown of the type of large truck involved in each accident is as follows:
- 38 truck-tractors
- 15 medium/heavy pickups (weight range greater than 10,000 lbs.)
- 11 single-unit trucks (weight range 10,001 to 19,500 lbs.)
- 5 single-unit trucks (weight range 19,501 to 26,000 lbs.)
- 5 single-unit trucks (weight range greater than 26,000 lbs.)
There were 21 fatal large truck accidents involving vehicle rollovers in Colorado in 2020. Our team of experienced Aurora personal injury attorneys have seen cases in which large trucks rollover if the truck driver locks the brakes and the truck jackknifes, or if the driver takes a turn too sharply. In addition, four fatal large truck accidents involved vehicle fires. Out of all fatal vehicle crashes in Colorado in 2020 – not just truck accidents – the vast majority (63 percent) occurred when the victim was traveling straight.
Where and When Do Most Truck Accidents Happen?
Statistics show that most (almost 55 percent) deadly large truck accidents take place in rural areas, as well as on non-interstate roads (73.29 percent). The deadliest month of 2020 for large truck accidents was October, with 483 fatal collisions, followed by June with 430. Data also showed that daytime truck accidents were more common than nighttime accidents; 63.45 percent of deadly crashes occurred during the day vs. 36.55 percent at night.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Truck Accidents?
National statistics from the FMCSA show that the first harmful event in the majority of fatal truck accidents (72 percent) was a collision with a vehicle in transport. A rollover was the first harmful event in 4 percent of fatal truck accidents. Crash reports show that the most common causes of commercial truck accidents include:
- Driver error
- Reckless driving
- Distracted driving
- Driving while fatigued
- Equipment breakdown
- Lost cargo loads
Almost all large truck accidents are preventable. If one or more people could have prevented the truck accident that injured you or killed a loved one, the at-fault party may be financially responsible for your losses. After your accident, seek help from a truck accident attorney in Aurora, CO as soon as possible. An attorney can investigate your crash, determine fault and help you seek fair financial compensation for your injuries.