Truck Safety Statistics from the AAJ

Earlier this year, the American Association for Justice, through its Interstate Trucking Litigation Group, issued a detailed and frightening report detailing a number of truck safety statistics. In my experience as a truck accident and personal injury attorney, I have found that a great percentage of the motoring public are aware of the numbers surrounding truck accidents. With this blog post, I aim to shed some light on them.

Truck Safety Statistics

As a member of the Interstate Trucking Litigation Group, I am grateful to my colleagues for their considerable work and effort in putting together such an important and valuable instrument of change. While the full Truck Safety Alert is available for download at the bottom of this post, the highlights are listed below.

  • In 2011, 3,757 people died in collisions with trucks, an 11.2% increase over 2009’s record low.
  • The nearly 11 million trucks that are on our roads make up only 4.7% of all passenger vehicles, yet are involved in 12.4% of all fatal crashes.
  • Nearly three times as many people die in truck accidents as die in aviation, boating and railroad accidents combined.
  • In fatal two-vehicle crashes involving a passenger vehicle and a large truck, 97% of the deaths were occupants in the passenger vehicles.
  • The trucking industry is lobbying the government to allow trucks of up to 97,000 lbs. on the highways — an increase of 20% over the current legal limit of 80,000 lbs.
  • The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has found that in today’s dollars, a fatal truck crash costs about $4.3 million in direct costs.
  • Trucks are involved in 90% of accidents that cause 2.5 hours or more of traffic congestion delay.
  • The fatality rate among all works is 3.5 fatalities per 100,000 workers. In the trucking industry, it was 24 deaths per 100,000 workers.
  • Legal and illegal drug and alcohol use is a factor in an estimated 65,000 truck crashes a year.
  • A random analysis of truck drivers by the Government Accountability Office found that 22% of truck drivers were driving while receiving disability benefits for epilepsy, alcohol addiction or drug dependence.
  • In 2011, the FMSCA found over 7 million violations during roadside inspections. In approximately 980,000 of those cases, the violation resulted in the driver or truck being placed out of service.
  • A 2009 study of over a million lines of data on truck violations previously unavailable to the public found more than 28,00 trucking companies, representing more than 200,000 trucks, operating on US roads with safety violations.
  • According to the FMCSA, 38% of carriers are responsible for 90% of all fatal crashes.

These powerful and concerning truck safety statistics all point to the fact that more must be done to improve safety within the trucking industry. Better legislation, more resources for government inspectors and higher insurance minimums are but a few important ways that truck accident lawyers are highlighting as key changes that need to be made.

The full advisory report is online as a PDF at the following address:

Truck Safety Alert (PDF)

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