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An Overview of Large Truck Accident and Collision Statistics

An Overview of Large Truck Accident and Collision Statistics

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) defines a “large truck,” a semi-truck or big rig, as a truck with a gross vehicle weight of 10,000 pounds or more. A truck of this nature can carry a load that weights upwards to an additional 70,000 more without obtaining special clearance. The average automobile clocks in at 2,000 pounds. Looking at weight alone, a car is no match for an empty large truck, let alone one that is carrying a load.

According to the American Trucking Association, there are 13.86 million large trucks registered in the US in 2021. This number represents 5% of all motor vehicles registered.


With these basic facts in mind, a motorist is well-served and aware of essential statistics related to large truck or big rig accidents. The FMCSA maintains data regarding semi-truck accidents in the United States. 2015 is the last year for which the governmental agency has collected and analyzed a complete set of statistics for 12 months.


Overall Large Truck Accident Statistics

Across the United States, about 415,000 large truck accidents were reported to police in 2015. During the same period, a total of just over 24,200 large truck accidents were reported in the state of Texas, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. Virtually all semi-truck accidents in the United States, including Texas, involve a collision with a passenger car.

Large Truck Accident Fatality Statistics

There were 3,598 fatal large truck accidents in the United States in 2015. Some of these accidents resulted in multiple fatalities. Deaths were nearly always attributed to drivers and passengers in automobiles. Big rig drivers rarely are killed in collisions with passenger cars.

428 fatal large truck accidents occurred in Texas during the same period. As is the case nationally, some of these collisions involved multiple fatalities. Big rig drivers were rarely killed in large truck and passenger automobile collisions.

Which State has the Most Truck Accidents?

Texas has the highest number of fatal truck accidents among all states in the United States. According to a report by the US Department of Transportation (DOT), in 2021, Texas recorded a staggering 832 large trucks involved in fatal accidents.

What Percentage of Fatalities in Truck Accidents in 2021 Were Occupants of Large Trucks?

In 2021, over 5,788 people were killed in accidents involving big trucks—a 17% increase over 2020 statistics. Seventy-two percent of the people killed in large truck crashes were the occupants of other vehicles.

Texas also had the largest number of large truck occupants killed in crashes in 2021, with 170, followed by California at 48.

(US Department of Transportation, 2023)

How Many Truck Accidents Happen in the Houston Area Each Year?

Harris County had 7,750 accidents in 2021, which involved a large truck. An estimated 2,181 collisions in Houston were injuries or possible injury accidents. Also, Harris County had 44 fatal truck accidents in 2021, per the Texas DOT.

Given these statistics, it becomes evident that the Houston area experiences many truck accidents annually. Consequently, drivers in this area must exercise heightened caution when sharing the road with semi-trucks, tanker trucks, and tractor-trailers.

Rig Accident Injury Rates

80,000 large truck accidents across the country resulted in injuries. In most accidents, the injuries sustained were serious and required hospitalization. Although big rig drivers were injured in accidents, automobile drivers and passengers nearly always sustained far more serious injuries in collisions with large trucks. Rear-end crashes are the most common type of 18-wheeler accidents.

Who Will Most Likely be Injured in a Collision with a Large Truck?

Of the estimated 154,993 people injured in a truck accident, 17% or 42,161 were occupants of the large trucks. Only 2% of injuries in large truck accidents were to nonoccupants, according to the 2021 data from NHTSA.


To speak with a big rig accident injury attorney in Houston, call us at 281-893-0760 for a no-obligation consultation on your rights and options.


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The NHTSA and Keeping Commercial Vehicle Accident Statistics about Texas




About Greg Baumgartner

Truck accident lawyer Greg Baumgartner
Greg Baumgartner is a preeminent rated personal injury lawyer based in Houston, Texas, with over three decades of experience representing severely injured clients in truck accidents. He founded Baumgartner Law Firm, in 1985, with a mission to provide excellent legal representation and personalized attention to every client.