Truck Accident Statistics for 2019

By Greg Kohn

Large trucks or commercial trucks can be extremely deadly when involved in a motor vehicle accident. The size and weight difference between a big rig or 18-wheeler and a passenger vehicle place the occupants of the passenger vehicle at substantial risk of catastrophic injuries or death. Bicyclists and pedestrians hit by a truck typically have little chance of surviving the collision. Victims and their families often turn to an experienced New Jersey truck accident lawyer for help in filing a claim and pursuing compensation for injuries.

In this article, we discuss large truck accident statistics and some of the common causes of commercial truck accidents.

2019 Large Truck Accident Statistics

The most recent large truck accident statistics released by the NHTSA in January 2019 was for the year 2017. According to this data:

The number of people who died in truck accidents increased by nine percent from 2016 (4,369) to 2017 (4,761)

Seventy-two percent (72%) of the people killed in crashes involving large trucks were passengers in other vehicles. Ten percent (10%) of large truck accident fatalities consisted of non-occupants, such as cyclists and pedestrians.

Eighteen percent (18%) of the deaths were occupants of the large trucks.

From 2008 through 2017, there was a twelve percent (12%) increase in the number of motor vehicle deaths involving large trucks. During the same period, there was a nine percent (9%) increase in the number of fatalities for occupants of other vehicles.

Large vehicles accounted for four percent (4%) of the total vehicles registered during 2017 but accounted for nine percent (9%) of the vehicles involved in fatal crashes.

More than twenty-five percent (25%) of the fatal crashes involving large trucks occurred on interstates. Crashes in rural areas involving large trucks accounted for fifty-eight percent (58%) of fatal large truck crashes.

Seventy-eight percent (78%) of fatal truck accidents occurred during the weekday.

The number of people who died in large truck crashes during 2017 was thirty percent (30%) higher than in 2009.

Approximately 145,000 people were injured in large truck accidents during 2017. This is the largest number of large truck accident injuries since 1997.

In New Jersey, 54 people died in large truck accidents during 2017. This number represented a slight decrease from 2016 (57) and a slight increase from 2015 (50).

Why Do Large Truck Crashes or Commercial Truck Accidents Occur?

Roughly eighty-seven percent (87%) of the critical reasons for large truck accidents involve the driver’s non-performance, recognition, decisions, or performance. Non-performance involved falling asleep, medical condition, or other physical impairment. Recognition and decisions involved distracted driving, speeding, following too closely, and other driver errors. Performance reasons included poor directional control, driver panic, and overcompensating. Ten percent (10%) of the accidents involved vehicle problems and three percent (3%) involved environmental factors.

Some of the most common causes of large truck accidents include:

  • Driver error, such as drunk driving, fatigued driving, drugged driving, and distracted driving
  • Speeding and reckless driving
  • Inexperienced truck drivers
  • Weather and road conditions
  • Improper truck maintenance
  • Defective trucks or truck parts
  • Improperly loaded cargo

Determining the cause of a large truck crash is crucial. The cause of the crash dictates who may be liable for the victim’s injuries, damages, and losses. In many cases, multiple parties may be liable for damages. However, large trucking companies and their insurance providers aggressively investigate, and fight truck accident claims to minimize their liability.

Victims and their families can greatly benefit by contacting a New Jersey truck accident lawyer as soon as possible after the crash. An attorney can investigate the crash to determine fault and liability while preserving key evidence needed to win a fair settlement for an injury claim.

Contact a New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyer Today

It can be difficult to deal with insurance representatives and trucking companies after an accident. Instead of focusing on the claim, you can focus on your recovery by allowing an experienced New Jersey truck accident attorney handle the claim. Contact Nagel Rice today for a free consultation.

About the Author
Greg Kohn is a partner at Nagel Rice and specializes in complex civil litigation cases, including professional malpractice, personal injury, class actions, wrongful death, products liability, and commercial litigation.  He has extensive experience representing clients in both state and federal court. Greg has tried many jury trials to verdict and has recovered over $50 million in settlements and verdicts in all types of personal injury matters including automobile accidents, wrongful death cases, slip and falls, and other catastrophic injury cases. Greg also handles medical malpractice cases, involving misdiagnoses, wrongful birth, and delayed cancer diagnosis. If you have questions regarding this article, you can contact Greg here.