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Featured Image Truck Accidents

Did you know that the Lone Star State is home to the highest number of lane miles in the United States? Or that four of the top eight US cities with the most lane mileage per capita are in Texas?

With its extensive network of highways and interstates, it’s no wonder that truck traffic is a common sight on Texas roads.

The Texas trucking industry alone supports 1.1 million jobs and $62.7B in labor income. Unfortunately, while trucks are essential for the economy, they also increase the risk of severe accidents.

So, let’s take a look at Texas truck accident statistics, their underlying causes, and the roads on which you’re more likely to encounter danger.

If you have any questions, or would like to speak with a Waco truck accident lawyer, please contact us today.

How Do Reporting Agencies Define Trucks?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines a large truck as any medium or heavy truck with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) greater than 10,000 pounds.

These large trucks include:

  • Light-duty commercial trucks weighing less than 10,000 pounds, including pickup, transit, and cargo vans;
  • Medium-duty commercial trucks weighing between 10,001 and 26,000 pounds, including box, dump, and landscape trucks; and
  • Heavy-duty commercial trucks weighing more than 26,001 pounds, including semis, semitrailers, semi-tractor-trailers, tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers, and big rigs.

As for more diminutive trucks, the Texas legislature defines a “light truck” as “a truck, including a pickup truck, panel delivery truck, or carryall truck, that has a manufacturer’s rated carrying capacity of 2,000 pounds or less.”

What Are Current National Truck Accident Statistics?

In 2021, large trucks accounted for 5 percent of registered US vehicles and 10% of all vehicle miles traveled. In the same year, the US experienced 166,853 large truck accidents. Of these, 99,600 involved semi-trucks.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), in 2021:

  • 4,714 people died in large truck crashes, representing a 17% increase compared with 2020;
  • 16% of these deaths were truck occupants, 68% were occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles, and 15% were pedestrians, bicyclists, or motorcyclists;
  • 11% of all motor vehicle crash deaths occurred in large truck crashes;
  • 74% of large truck crash deaths involved tractor-trailers, while 27% involved single-unit trucks;
  • 63% of large truck crash deaths in multiple-vehicle crashes involved another large truck;
  • 48% of large truck crash deaths occurred on major roads other than interstates and freeways, 36% occurred on interstates and freeways, and 16% occurred on minor roads;
  • 50% of large truck crash deaths occurred between 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., compared with 28 percent of crash deaths involving other vehicles;
  • 16% percent of large truck crash deaths occurred on Saturday and Sunday, compared with 35% involving other vehicles; and
  • 52% of large truck accident deaths occurred in crashes in which the vehicle rolled over. 

Furthermore, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) found that the critical pre-crash event for 63% of large trucks involved in fatal crashes was another vehicle, person, animal, or object in the large truck’s lane or creeping into it. At the same time, another 23% involved the truck driver’s loss of control.

What Are Current Texas Commercial Truck Accident Statistics?

In 2022, 32% of truck accidents nationwide resulted in an injury. This means that out of 166,833 truck accidents, 54,172 resulted in harm. In the same year, Texas experienced 38,621 commercial vehicle crashes. In fact, Texas leads the country in fatal truck accidents and, in 2022, experienced:

  • 203,456 pickup truck accidents, resulting in 5384 serious injuries and 1534 deaths;
  • 26,963 truck accidents, resulting in 629 serious injuries and 199 deaths; and
  • 26,164 semi-truck accidents, resulting in 950 serious injuries and 487 deaths.

Moreover, Texas’ truck-related fatalities are nearly double that of the second-highest state, California. Data from 2012–2021 also indicates the fatality rates based on vehicle miles traveled in Texas have increased almost yearly.

There are over 300,000 miles of public roadway in Texas, and the Texas trucking industry employs 1 in 16 Texans. Needless to say, all Texas drivers must be vigilant on the Lone Star State’s roads.

What Are Common Causes of Texas Truck Accidents?

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, some of the most common truck accident causes include:

  • Safety violations—abuses like exceeding driving hours and neglecting safety inspections can have serious consequences.
  • Driver fatigue—long hours on the road can lead to exhaustion that impairs judgment and cognitive abilities, delays in reaction times, and falling asleep at the wheel.
  • Distracted driving—even looking away from the road for a few seconds to text or use a GPS can cause a driver to miss changing traffic conditions.
  • Speeding—semis can carry up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded, requiring longer distances to come to a complete stop.
  • Aggressive driving— a truck’s limited agility and braking capability make tailgating, rapid lane changes, and ignoring traffic signals particularly dangerous.
  • Equipment failure—brake failures, tire blowouts, and other mechanical issues can result in uncontrollable vehicles.

Understanding these and other accidents caused on the road can help ensure your safety.

Where Are the Texas Truck Accident Hot Spots?

The top counties for Texas semi-truck accidents included Harris, Dallas, Bexar, and Tarrant.

Major interstates like I-10, I-35, and I-45 also frequently see higher accident rates. While the top 13 Texas trucking bottlenecks are:

  • Houston: I-45 at I-69/US 59,
  • Houston: I-10 at I-45,
  • Dallas: I-45 at I-30,
  • Houston: I-45 at I-610 (North),
  • Houston: I-10 at I-610 (West),
  • Houston: I-610 at US 290,
  • Austin: I-35,
  • Houston: I-10 at I-610 (East),
  • Dallas: US 75 at I-635,
  • Ft. Worth: I-35W at I-30,
  • Houston: I-610 at I-69/US 59 (West),
  • Houston: I-10 at I-69/US 59, and
  • Houston: I-45 at Sam Houston Tollway (North).

Additionally, areas with concentrations of industrial activity or ports are prone to higher truck-related accidents.

Contact the Experts at The Zimmerman Law Firm

The Zimmerman Law Firm, P.C., prides itself on providing compassionate, down-to-earth service and hard-hitting representation.

After nearly a century of combined experience and dedicated practice, we know how to aggressively navigate insurance company tactics to ensure you receive a just settlement.

We’ve helped thousands of Texans win their personal injury claims, resulting in tens of millions in settlements, hundreds of 5-star reviews, and even more satisfied clients.

Contact us today. We offer free consultations and never collect fees unless you win.

Author Photo

Michael Zimmerman

Michael was born in Houston, Texas. His education at Baylor and Texas State Universities earned him a Bachelor of Science degree in 1987. His major was in Biology with a Minor in Chemistry. He finished his legal education at Texas Southern University in 1990, earning a Juris Doctorate from Thurgood Marshall School of Law. He was admitted to the State Bar of Texas in 1990.

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