Recent Data Show Truck Accident Fatalities on the Rise Nationally

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released in January 2019 it’s updated Traffic Safety Facts on large truck crashes. Unfortunately, the data show that across the U.S., and in Texas, the number of people injured or killed in 18-wheeler wrecks is rising.
In today’s blog post, we’ll provide some of the key pieces of information from the NHTSA report, in the hopes that awareness of this issue can eventually start to cut down on what has been a big problem on our nation’s roadways.

Summarizing the Key Findings

Despite efforts to better regulate the trucking industry and improve driving technology and driver training, serious truck accidents continue to increase in frequency. The newest NHTSA findings show that in 2017 (the most recent data available):

  • 4,761 people were killed in crashes involving large trucks, a 9 percent increase from 2016.
  • 72 percent of the people killed in truck wrecks were occupants of the other vehicle.
  • 18 percent of those killed were occupants of the large trucks.
  • 10 percent of those killed were not in any vehicle (pedestrians, bicyclists, etc.).
  • 78 percent of fatal truck wrecks occurred on weekdays between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.
  • Only 3 percent of truck drivers involved in fatal crashes had blood alcohol levels of .08 or higher.
  • Nearly 21 percent of truck drivers involved in fatal accidents in 2017 had a previous crash record.

A Decade-Long Trend

Stepping back to look at a longer window of time, the numbers are disappointing. For the 10-year period 2008-2017, there was a 12 percent increase in the total number of people killed in truck accidents (from 4,245 in 2008 to 4,761 in 2017). In other words, well over 4,000 people have been taken from their families as a result of big-rig crashes every year for the last decade. That is a difficult fact to accept.

Fatal Crash Frequency by Location

Taking a look at where fatal truck accidents occur most frequently, we see the following:

  • 27 percent of fatal commercial truck wrecks occurred on interstate highways.
  • 58 percent of fatal commercial truck wrecks occurred in rural areas.
  • Just 5 percent of such crashes occurred in work zones.

Texas-Specific Truck Accident Data

When it comes to fatal motor vehicle accidents, the statistics for Texas are not positive. In 2017:

  • Across the U.S., 52,645 total vehicles were involved in fatal accidents.
  • 5,266 of those vehicles were in Texas (that’s 10% of the total and the most of any state)
  • 621 of those vehicles were large commercial trucks (that’s almost double the next highest state, California, where 341 trucks were involved in fatal accidents).

Do You Need a Wrongful Death Attorney?

If you have lost a loved one in a Texas truck accident, you may be able to pursue a wrongful death claim to recover compensation that you and your family may need to help you move forward. The team at Ted B. Lyon & Associates in Dallas has extensive experience in these cases and we’re ready to meet with you any time. Contact us online for a free attorney consultation.