Large Truck Crash Overview 2010
Publication No. FMCSA-RRA-12-023
The mission of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)
is to save lives by reducing crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving
commercial vehicles on our Nations highways. In 2010, there were:
3,261 large truck fatal crashes
3,484 large trucks in fatal crashes
3,675 people killed in large truck fatal crashes (see Figure 1 for fatalities
Another 80,000 people were injured in crashes involving large trucks. Fourteen
percent of those killed, and 25% of those injured, were occupants of large
Figure 1. Fatalities in Crashes Involving Large Trucks
Trucks Involved in Fatal Crashes.
From 2001 through 2010, the number of
large trucks involved in fatal crashes dropped from 4,823 to 3,484down
by 28%. From 2007 through 2010, the number of large trucks in fatal crashes
per 100 million vehicle miles traveled by large trucks declined from 1.52
to 1.22down 20%. The corresponding rate for passenger vehicles fell from
1.66 to 1.33 also down 20% (Figure 2).
Trucks Involved in Injury Crashes.
From 2007 through 2010, the number of
large trucks involved in nonfatal injury crashes per 100 million vehicle
miles traveled by large trucks declined by 18%, while the rate for passenger
vehicles dropped by 7% (Figure 3).
Figure 2. Vehicles Involved in Fatal Crashes per 100 Million Vehicle Miles Traveled by Vehicle Type
Figure 3. Vehicles Involved in Injury Crashes per 100 Million Vehicle Miles Traveled by Vehicle Type
Three percent of the drivers of large trucks in fatal crashes had a blood
alcohol content (BAC) of 0.01 grams per deciliter (g/dl) or greater. Any
measurable BAC for a large truck driver is an FMCSA out-of-service violation.
Eighty-two percent of the drivers of large trucks involved in fatal crashes
were reported by police as wearing their safety belts, compared with 65%
of passenger vehicle drivers involved in fatal crashes.
In fatal crashes involving large trucks, driver-related factors were recorded
for 34% of the large truck drivers.
The top five driver-related factors for large trucks in fatal crashes were
speeding-related, distraction/inattention, failure to keep in proper lane,
vision obscured, and failure to yield right-of-way.
In 2010, large trucks accounted for 10% of all vehicle miles traveled and
4% of all registered vehicles in the United States. In motor vehicle crashes,
large trucks represented:
8% of vehicles in fatal crashes
2% of vehicles in injury crashes
3% of vehicles in property-damage-only crashes.
Large truck tractors pulling semi-trailers accounted for 62% of the large
trucks involved in fatal crashes and 48% of the large trucks involved in
Doubles (truck tractors pulling a semi-trailer and a full trailer) accounted
for 3% of large trucks involved in fatal and nonfatal crashes. Triples (truck
tractors pulling three trailers) accounted for 0.1% of all large trucks
involved in fatal and nonfatal crashes.
Three percent of large trucks involved in fatal crashes and 2% of large
trucks involved in nonfatal crashes were carrying hazardous materials (HM).
HM was released from the cargo compartment in 34% of the HM fatal crashes
and 10% of the HM nonfatal crashes.
Four percent of large trucks in fatal crashes were coded with vehicle-related
crash factors. Brakes and tires accounted for more than 50% of the factors
Adverse weather conditions were reported for 14% of the fatal and nonfatal
crashes involving large trucks. Rain was the most common adverse weather
In 76% of fatal crashes involving large trucks and 80% of injury crashes
involving large trucks, the first harmful event (the first event during
a crash that caused injury or property damage) was a collision with another
motor vehicle. Passenger vehicles were involved in 91% of these fatal crashes
and 94% of these injury crashes.
For two-vehicle fatal crashes in 2010 involving a large truck and a passenger
Of the 398 fatal head-on crashes, the large truck crossed the center line
in 13% and the passenger vehicle crossed the center line in 87% of the
Of the 318 fatal rear-end crashes, the large truck hit the passenger vehicle
in the rear in 24% and the passenger vehicle hit the large truck in the
rear in 76% of the crashes.
Rollover was the first harmful event for 4% of the fatal crashes and 2%
of the nonfatal crashes involving large trucks.
Twenty-two percent of all fatal crashes that took place in work zonesareas
of construction, maintenance, or utility activityinvolved a large truck.
Large Trucks: Trucks over 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR).
Passenger Vehicles: Passenger cars and light trucksvans, sport
utility vehicles, and pickup truckswith 10,000 pounds GVWR or less.
Fatal Crash Data: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Fatality
Analysis Reporting System (FARS).
Nonfatal Crash Data: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, General
Estimates System (GES); and FMCSA, Motor Carrier Management Information
System (MCMIS) crash file, as of November 18, 2011.
Vehicle Miles Traveled and Registered Vehicles: Federal Highway Administration,
Highway Statistics 2010.
For more information, contact the Analysis Division at (202) 366-0324,
or visit our web sites at www.fmcsa.dot.gov and ai.fmcsa.dot.gov.