Houston's Truck Accident Lawyer - Walker Texas Lawyer

Commercial Truck Accident Statistics

Oct 27, 2023 | 18-Wheeler Accident, Personal Injury

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Did you realize that Texas, the Lone Star State, boasts the largest number of lane miles in the entire United States? Furthermore, four out of the top eight American cities with the greatest lane mileage per person are located within our state’s borders.

Considering the vast network of interstates and highways crisscrossing the state, it’s unsurprising that commercial truck traffic is a frequent sight on Texan roads.

Texas’s trucking industry alone provides 1.1 million jobs and contributes over $62.7 billion in labor income to the economy. However, the essential role trucks play in our economy comes with a downside. These large vehicles, crucial as they are, contribute heavily to the risk of serious accidents.

Now, let’s delve into the statistics surrounding truck accidents in Texas, explore the fundamental causes, and pinpoint the roads where these dangerous incidents are most likely to occur.

What is The Definition of a Commercial Truck?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) categorizes a large truck as any medium or heavy-duty truck with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) exceeding 10,000 pounds.

These sizable trucks encompass:

  • Light-duty commercial trucks weighing under 10,000 pounds, such as pickups, transit vans, and cargo vans;
  • Medium-duty commercial trucks with weights ranging from 10,001 to 26,000 pounds, including box trucks, dump trucks, and landscape trucks; and
  • Heavy-duty commercial trucks weighing over 26,001 pounds, like semi-trucks, semi-trailers, semi-tractor-trailers, tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers, and big rigs.

Concerning smaller trucks, the Texas legislature defines a “light truck” as “a truck, incorporating pickup trucks, panel delivery trucks, or carryall trucks, possessing a manufacturer’s rated carrying capacity of 2,000 pounds or less.”

Recent Commercial Truck Accident Statistics

In 2021, large trucks made up 5% of all registered vehicles in the U.S, contributing to 10% of total vehicle miles traveled. The same year saw 166,853 accidents involving large trucks, with semi-trucks implicated in 99,600 incidents.

As per the 2021 data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS):

  • There were 4,714 fatalities resulting from large truck accidents, marking a 17% increase compared to the previous year.
  • Among these fatalities, 16% were truck occupants, 68% were passengers or drivers of other vehicles, while 15% were pedestrians, cyclists, or motorcyclists.
  • 11% of all motor vehicle-related fatalities involved large truck accidents.
  • Tractor-trailers were involved in 74% of large truck accident deaths, while single-unit trucks were implicated in 27% of fatal incidents.
  • In crashes involving multiple vehicles, another large truck was involved in 63% of the accidents resulting in large truck fatalities.
  • Large truck accident fatalities occurred predominantly on major roads other than interstates and freeways (48%), followed by interstates and freeways (36%), and minor roads (16%).
  • Half of large truck fatalities occurred during daytime hours, 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., compared to 28% of fatalities involving other vehicles.
  • Fatal large truck accidents over the weekends (Saturday and Sunday) accounted for 16% of the total, compared to 35% involving other vehicles.
  • Rollovers were a factor in 52% of all large truck accident fatalities.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) also provided additional insights, finding that another vehicle, person, animal, or object encroaching the large truck’s lane or already present in it was the critical pre-crash event in 63% of fatal large truck accidents. Moreover, truck driver’s loss of control accounted for another 23% of such incidents.

Recent Texas Truck Accident Statistics

In 2022, truck accidents causing injuries accounted for 32% of the total truck crashes across the U.S. This implies that out of the 166,833 recorded truck accidents, 54,172 led to injuries. Within the same timeframe, Texas reported 38,621 commercial vehicle accidents. Texas, in fact, has the highest number of fatal truck accidents in the country, with the 2022 breakdown as follows:

  • 203,456 accidents involved pickup trucks, causing 5,384 severe injuries and 1,534 fatalities;
  • 26,963 incidents reported were truck accidents, leading to 629 serious injuries and 199 deaths; and
  • Semi-truck accidents totaled 26,164, causing 950 significant injuries and 487 fatalities.

Furthermore, truck-related fatality rates in Texas are nearly twice those of California, the state with the second-highest number. Historical data spanning from 2012 to 2021 also reveals a steady annual increase in the fatality rates considering vehicle miles traveled the Texan roads.

With over 300,000 miles of public roads and the trucking industry employing 1 in 16 Texans, it is imperative for all drivers in the Lone Star State to remain cautious and vigilant while on the road.

Causes of Truck Accidents

Causes of truck accidents vary widely.  According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association, most accidents fall into one or more of the following categories:

  • Running out of the lane that the vehicle should travel in (approximately 32 percent)
  • Loss of control of the vehicle, including speeding, driving at excessive speeds for the current conditions on the road, and vehicle systems failure (29 percent)
  • Rear-end collisions (22 percent)
  • 29 percent of total accidents involved brake problems.
  • 23 percent of accidents involved speeding.
  • 22 percent of accidents involved drivers traveling unfamiliar roads.
  • 20 percent of accidents involved in roadway problems.
  • 17 percent of accidents included prescription drug use by the driver.
  • 14 percent of accidents included inadequate surveillance by the driver.
  • 13 percent of accidents included driver fatigue.
  • 10 percent of accidents involved a commercial driver who felt work pressure from his or her carrier, including pressure to drive despite fatigue or pressure to meet deadlines.

Importance of Hiring an 18-Wheeler Accident Attorney

If you or someone you love has been injured in an 18-wheeler accident, it is crucial to seek the expertise of an experienced Texas truck accident attorney. A skilled lawyer will fight for you every step of the way, ensuring that you receive the compensation you deserve for past, present, and future damages and losses. They can conduct an independent investigation of your accident and build a strong case to maximize the value of your claim.

An 18-wheeler accident attorney will help you navigate the complexities of dealing with insurance companies and engage with expert witnesses to support your case. They will also ensure that you understand and meet the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim, which is essential for a successful outcome.

Walker Texas Lawyer: Experience and Free Consultation

With over 40 years of legal experience, Walker Texas Lawyer has successfully represented thousands of clients in truck accident cases. His expertise in personal injury law ensures that you receive the highest quality legal representation during this critical time.

If you or a loved one has been involved in an 18-wheeler accident, don’t hesitate to reach out to Walker Texas Lawyer and take advantage of his free consultation offer. By doing so, you’ll have an invaluable opportunity to discuss the intricacies of your case and gain a better understanding of the legal options available to you. Walker Texas Lawyer is a reliable and compassionate partner who will fight vigorously on your behalf so you can focus on your recovery and future well-being.

Contact Walker Texas Lawyer at 713-552-1117 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation.


For more information, contact Houston’s accident law firm of Walker Texas Lawyer by calling (713) 552-1117.

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James Walker - Walker Texas Lawyer James Walker is a Personal Injury Attorney in Houston, Texas. He has over 40 years of legal experience and has helped over 25,000 clients. This means he has demonstrated his extensive knowledge of legal procedures. He knows how to handle insurance companies. If insurance companies refuse to give you a fair shake, they will take the insurance companies to court. He knows the law inside and out. He knows what he’s doing.

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