Truck Accidents in the US: Statistics, Legal Challenges, and Prevention

Truck accident in the US, Tracks stoped in the highway

Road accidents involving cars and trucks are often seen as the same. However, accidents involving 18-wheelers differ in many ways, particularly in their legal impact. This article will examine what distinguishes truck accidents from other types of accidents, with specific importance on the legal process that typically follows.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there were over 490,000 truck accidents in the United States in 2020. 

To better understand the severity and consequences of truck accidents, it’s important to start with some statistics that highlight their impact in the United States. Over 4,000 of these accidents resulted in fatal outcomes, making it a grave issue that needs to be addressed.


Fatalities from truck accidents (2020)Over 4,800
Percentage of fatal crashes involving trucks (2020)11% (while being only 4% of all registered vehicles)
Leading causes of truck accidentsDriver error, Speeding, Following too closely
Predominant types of truck accidentsHead-on collisions, Rear-end collisions, Side-impact collisions
Relative fatality of truck accidentsMore fatal than other vehicle accidents due to their size/weight

Key Takeaways

  • Truck accidents occur more frequently on highways and rural roads, rather than in urban areas.
  • Truck accidents are more likely to occur during the night than during the day.
  • The rate of truck accidents is higher in the warmer seasons of summer and fall compared to the colder seasons of winter and spring.

If you are a driver who shares the road with large trucks, or you have unfortunately been involved in a truck accident, it is essential to understand the statistics and seek expert legal counsel. Truck accidents can be complicated, but taking the right steps after the incident is crucial. In this article, we will explore the intricacies of truck accidents and outline actionable steps that you should consider taking in the aftermath.

Federal Regulatory Oversight on Trucks

Commercial trucks, particularly 18-wheelers, are regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). This governing body sets guidelines on driver hours, qualifications, vehicle maintenance, and other aspects to maintain a high safety standard in the trucking industry. Any failure to comply with these rules can be considered negligent in the event of an accident.

Multiple Liability or More Parties Involved

In comparison to a regular car accident that usually involves two parties, truck accidents can bring in various entities into the picture. Apart from the truck driver, the trucking company, the owner of the truck, shippers, and sometimes even manufacturers might find themselves sharing the responsibility. The situation becomes even more complex when it comes to determining who is responsible for the accident.

High Stakes Insurance for Covering Bigger Damages

Due to their ability to cause significant damage, 18-wheelers can be involved in tragic accidents. As a result, these commercial vehicles require higher insurance limits compared to regular sedans. The insurance coverage for these giants is designed to cover the extensive damage and injuries they can cause.

Comprehensive Investigations process of truck accidents 

When an accident involving a truck or an 18-wheeler occurs, it’s not just about analyzing the crash site. These vehicles are equipped with electronic control modules that can provide crucial information about the truck’s operations leading up to the accident. In addition to this, investigators often examine logbooks, maintenance records, and other relevant information to gain a complete understanding of the circumstances surrounding the incident.

Navigating Jurisdictions of Truck Accidents 

As 18-wheelers often travel across state borders daily, legal proceedings following an accident can fall under both state and federal jurisdictions. This can have significant implications, making it essential to navigate the aftermath of a truck accident with specialized knowledge, such as that of a truck accident lawyer.

Special Licensing and Training for 18-wheelers (CDL) and Truck accidents 

Driving an 18-wheeler is not an ordinary job. Professional drivers must undergo extensive training to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL). If an accident occurs due to any violation of CDL standards, it adds another layer of legal considerations to the incident.

Truck accidents are not just any ordinary road mishap. They involve a complex mix of regulatory, legal, and physical factors that make them particularly challenging. If you or someone you know has been affected by a truck accident, it is crucial to seek the advice of an attorney who specializes in this field. It’s important to understand the unique nature of truck accidents to ensure that justice is served and the roads remain safe.