In May of 2014, the U.S. Department of Transportation released data on traffic accidents in 2012 that involved commercial trucks (defined as a vehicle weighing more than 10,000 pounds). The numbers are staggering and should alarm motorists all across the country. In 2012, there were 333,000 traffic accidents involving commercial trucks in the United States. Those traffic accidents resulted in 104,000 injured people and caused 3,921 fatalities. To put that in perspective, that means that each day in this country, more than 10 people are killed in a commercial trucking accident. Of the fatalities, 83% were not occupants of the commercial truck.
What's more alarming than the number of injuries or deaths in the past is that the number of fatal truck accidents has risen steadily each year since 2009. So where did most of these fatal crashes occur? The U.S. DOT broke down each accident by state, which can be viewed below or in this infographic:
Comparing Fatal Truck Accident Statistics Over a Decade Ago
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) came up with data from 2003, demonstrating the trend of increased collisions and fatal crashes.
In comparison to 2012, here were those state’s number of fatal truck crashes in 2003:
- Texas: 419
- California: 311
- Florida: 314
- Pennsylvania: 188
- Georgia: 201
- Ohio: 134
- North Carolina: 148
- Oklahoma: 90
- Illinois: 162
- Indiana: 142
While some states have made significant progress in the last few years, others have seen an increase in the number of fatal truck collisions. Whether due to changes in trucking routes, safety standards, or other measures, it is clear that some state’s highways are more dangerous than others.
Analyzing the High Number of Crashes & Percentages
Maybe it should not come as any surprise that the 10 states that experience the most commercial truck crashes are among the most populated states in the nation. However, the numbers aren't necessarily proportionate to the state population. Texas makes up only 8% of the country's total population, but accounts for over 14% of the total number of fatal crashes involving commercial trucks. Similarly, Oklahoma's population is just 1.2% of the U.S. population, but 3.3% of all fatal commercial trucking accidents occur in the Sooner State.
While Texas and Oklahoma have a disproportionately high number of fatal trucking accidents, it is true that the number of accidents generally mirrors a state's population. To take that into account, let's take a look at what percentage of commercial trucks involved in fatal crashes.
Top 10 States for Number of Fatal Accidents Involving Trucks:
- North Dakota: 20.2%
- Wyoming: 16.8%
- Nebraska: 14.7%
- Iowa: 13.2%
- Oklahoma: 13.1%
- Texas: 11.8%
- Arkansas: 11.5%
- Kansas: 11.0%
- Louisiana: 10.7%
- West Virginia: 10.4%
How Can the Number of Truck Accidents Be Reduced?
Many trucking operations have initiated new protocols to help keep trucks off of the highways in during high-density hours such as early morning and evening rush hours. They are also working with manufacturers to try and reduce the size and weight of the trucks so that less damage is caused in an accident. Other efforts have included stricter hour logging systems, improved safety and warning features, and increased rest breaks, among other measures.
Still, while there are ways to improve, eliminating commercial trucking crashes altogether will never happen. If you were involved in a crash, talk to our experienced truck accident lawyers today to find out your options during this time.