According to the latest data, there were nearly 5,000 fatalities due to truck accidents in the US. Additionally, more than 147,000 people received injuries from large truck crashes in the US.
A semi-truck accident can cause a lot of damage to people and property. After all, large trucks can weigh up to 35,000 pounds. And that statistic does not even consider how much the truck will weigh when loaded.
But have you ever wondered which US state has the highest number of semi-truck collisions? Unfortunately, that honor goes to the Lone Star State. And considering Texas’ increased speed limit, that should be no wonder.
Exactly how bad are Texas’ semi-truck accident statistics? And why is Texas home to so many big truck accident injuries and fatalities? We will answer these questions and more in this semi-truck guide, so keep reading.
Texas Is Home to the Most Semi-Truck Accidents in the US
Data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) shows that Texas had the most semi-truck collision fatalities in the US in 2020. There were 643 fatalities due to collisions with large trucks.
This number is 38% higher than the number of big truck accident fatalities in 2010 (400). But the good news is that fatalities declined in 2020, decreasing 2.3% since 2017 and 3.5% since 2018.
Unfortunately, it seems that trend is reversing these days. The latest data from 2021 shows that semi-truck accident-related fatalities increased from 2020 to 2021, rising a whopping 19% from 2019 to 2021.
Other States With High Semi-Truck Accident Fatalities
Coming in at a very far second is California, with 398 truck accident-related fatalities in 2020. Florida ranked third with 344 fatalities from large truck accidents, and Georgia came in fourth with only 234 fatalities.
Other states with semi-truck accident fatalities numbering over 100 include the following:
- Tennessee (179)
- Illinois (178)
- North Carolina (170)
- Indiana (153)
- Ohio (149)
- Alabama (141)
- Pennsylvania (133)
- South Carolina (132)
- Arizona (122)
- Missouri (119)
- Kentucky (118)
- New York (117)
- Virginia (108)
All other states in the US have semi-truck accident fatalities numbering less than 100.
More Semi-Truck Crash Stats You Need to Know
- 9% of all vehicles involved in fatal accidents are big trucks, yet big trucks only make up 4% of all registered vehicles in the US
- In 2020, a total of 107,000 big trucks caused accidents that led to an injury to the truck driver or the other party
- Fatalities that occur due to big truck accidents are more common in rural areas (55% of accidents) than in urban areas (45% of accidents)
- Fatalities that occur due to big truck accidents are more common on non-interstate roads (73% of accidents) than interstate roads (27% of accidents)
- Among non-interstate roads, 47% of fatal big truck accidents occur on major roads, while only 15% of fatalities occur on minor roads
- Fatalities that occur due to big truck accidents are more common during daylight hours (64% of accidents) than nighttime hours (37% of accidents)
- Less than 5% of big truck accidents that cause injuries occur in work zones
The Most Common Times of Year for Semi-Truck Fatalities
October is the most common month for semi-truck accident-related deaths. 483 fatal crashes occurred in October 2020.
Summer months are also dangerous for big truck drivers. In 2020, there were 430 fatalities in June, 401 deaths in July, and 431 fatal accidents in August. September also sees high truck fatalities at 426.
The least common times of year for semi-truck accident-related deaths are in the spring. In 2020, April had the lowest number of fatalities at 265. March was a close second with 276 fatalities due to big truck crashes.
The Most Common Times of Day for Semi-Truck Fatalities
Big truck accident fatalities are most likely to occur from 6 am to 6 pm. In 2020, 63% of big truck accidents that were fatal happened between these hours. The most common timeframe was noon to 3 pm, with 17% of deaths.
The least common time for truck accident-related deaths is from midnight to 3 am. Only 8% of semi-truck crash accident fatalities occur during this window. And only 9% of fatalities occur between the hours of 9 pm and midnight.
Why Are There So Many Semi-Truck Wrecks in Texas?
You may think that Texas has more semi-truck accidents per annum because it is the largest state in the contiguous US and, thus, has more roads for accidents to occur on.
However, Texas roads are not as busy as roads in other large states like California. That is because the population of Texas is about 35% smaller, though the state of Texas itself is about 68% bigger than California.
In other words, there are fewer people driving on more roads in Texas. So why is Texas home to so many big truck accidents these days? Below, we will give you the details of three major reasons for this phenomenon.
Texas Speed Limits
The average speed limit in the US is 69.8mph. But in Texas, the speed limit can reach more than 15mph over that average, with many highways posting 85mph speed limits.
Indeed, the most commonly cited cause of accidents in Texas is speeding. This applies to general car accidents and large truck collisions.
But with big trucks, speeding is far more dangerous. The heavier a vehicle weighs, the longer it takes to come to a stop. And with many truck drivers’ pay based on delivery schedule adherence, aggressive driving is common.
Big Truck Traffic
Texas is home to a large portion of the oil and gas industry, which is a major consumer of semi-truck services. The Lone Star State is also a major transporter of goods to and from Mexico.
Both of these facts have resulted in a significant uptick in the number of large trucks on the roads.
At the same time, semi-trucks can cause a lot of wear and tear to roads. This is especially true of rural and farm-to-market roads, which are not built to handle frequent semi-truck use.
Weight Limit Suspensions
The Federal government and most states place limits on how much a truck and its cargo can weigh. The point of these limits is to prevent damage to roadways and reduce accidents that can cause injuries and fatalities.
Yet, in Texas, weight limit suspensions are not uncommon. These suspensions exempt trucks from following Texas truckload weight limits.
For example, in August of 2022, the Texas government temporarily suspended weight limits for trucks administering “disaster assistance,” a term that includes a wide variety of truckloads, including fuel and building materials.
Multiple Major Highways
Texas is home to three of the most dangerous interstate highways in the US. This includes I-40, I-35, and I-20.
In 2019, there were nearly 10 accident-related fatalities for every 100 miles on I-40. Meanwhile, I-20 had over 13 deaths per 100 miles in 2019. And I-35 accounted for nearly 200 traffic-related deaths that same year.
What to Do If You Get in a Semi-Truck Wreck in Houston, Texas
Were you injured in a semi-truck accident that was not your fault? Then you may be able to win damages for your injuries and property damage. To do that, you will need the help of an experienced Houston personal injury attorney.
But before calling a lawyer, there are a few things you must do after a collision with a semi-truck. We outline them below.
Report the Accident
First, you should call 911 to report the accident, especially if you are on a major road. First responders will need to help with any injured victims. And the roadway will have to be cleared to prevent accidents with other drivers.
Document the Evidence
The minutes after a car crash can be stressful, but they are crucial in your case. You need to document all the evidence of the crash.
Take photos of your vehicle and/or bodily damage, jot down witness contact information, and obtain the semi-truck driver’s insurance information.
See Your Physician
You absolutely must seek medical attention if you obtain an injury from an accident with a semi-truck or 18-wheeler.
Do not wait to see the doctor, even if you think your injuries are minor. Waiting to seek medical attention can make it difficult to make a direct connection between the accident and your injuries.
Never Admit Fault
Do not admit fault or liability after an accident. In fact, it is often best not to say anything about the details of the accident to the semi-truck driver, your insurance company, or the truck driver’s insurance company.
Call an Attorney
If you are injured in an accident with a semi-truck, or you have a loved one who dies in a semi-truck collision, call a Houston lawyer ASAP.
In the first case, you have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. In the second case, you can sue for wrongful death.
Searching for ‘Personal Injury Attorneys Near Me’?
Semi-truck accidents are unfortunately common in Texas. In fact, Texas has the highest number of big truck accidents per year and the most injuries and fatalities due to large truck collisions.
Were you injured in an accident with a big truck in Houston, Texas? O’Hara Law Firm is experienced in representing personal injury clients in 18-wheeler accident cases. Contact us today to see how we can help with your case.