Fatal Crashes Involving Large Trucks Are Increasing

The number of large trucks (trucks weighing more than 10,000 pounds) involved in fatal crashes is increasing, according to the most recent data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Large Truck Crash Overview report. Three thousand six hundred eight (3,608) large trucks were involved in fatal crashes in 2011, which is a 3 percent increase from 2010 and 12 percent increase from 2009. Three thousand seven hundred fifty seven (3,757) people were killed and 80,000 injured in 2011.

The FMCSA reports also demonstrate that truck drivers are more likely than drivers of smaller vehicles to comply with seat belt laws and less likely to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In fatal collisions, 83 percent of truck drivers, compared with 65 percent of drivers of passenger cars, were reported to be wearing their seatbelts. In 1 percent of the fatal collisions, truck drivers had a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher. Additional data from the FMCSA report shows the following:

  • Most collisions occurred in day-light hours.
  • Tractors pulling a semi-trailer accounted for 61 percent of large trucks involved in fatal crashes and 47 percent of those in nonfatal collisions.
  • In fatal crashes involving large trucks, driver-related factors were recorded for 34 percent of the drivers. Speed was the top driver-related factor (8 percent), followed by distraction/inattention (6 percent), impairment (4 percent), failure to stay in the proper lane (4 percent) and blocked vision (3.5 percent).
  • There were 174 large trucks involved in fatal crashes in work zones.