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How Many Semi-Truck Accidents Occur Per Year?

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How Many Semi-Truck Accidents Occur Per Year?

Approximately 200,000 semi-trucks (aka tractor-trailers or 18-wheelers) are involved in accidents on U.S. roads every year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). But what’s behind the numbers? How deadly are semi-truck accidents?

The statistics below look at data for the year 2020 (the most recent year for which these stats are available) and can be found in the NHTSA’s Traffic Safety Facts Annual Report; find the tables referenced below here. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, or IIHS, also has a good, more readable overview of the NHTSA data here.

Statistics on Semi-Truck Accidents

While it’s true that there are, on average, 200,000 accidents involving semi-trucks every year, it’s important to understand what that number really entails.

In the year 2020, of 188,420 total number of “Truck Tractors With Trailers” involved in crashes, 140,912 of those were property-damage-only crashes. That leaves 44,806 in crashes that caused injury to one or more parties and 2,702 in crashes that resulted in one or more fatalities. (Table 49, Year 2020.)

How Deadly Are Semi-Truck Accidents?

In 2020, there were a total of 54,272 vehicles involved in fatal crashes in the U.S., (Table 37, Year 2020), of which 2,858 were truck tractors. That accounts for just 5.3% of the vehicle types involved in fatal crashes. But that 5.3% represents thousands of deaths; 2,983 people died in crashes involving tractor-trailers (semi-trucks) in 2020.

Furthermore, in crashes that involved a passenger vehicle and a “large truck” (any kind of truck weighing over 10,000 pounds, including but not limited to tractor-trailers/semi-trucks), a staggering 97% of deaths were of occupants in the passenger vehicle, and just 3% were of occupants of the large truck.

In short, semi-truck accidents are disproportionately deadly for occupants of a passenger vehicle involved in a crash with a semi-truck.

Read more about how and why large truck and tractor-trailer accidents are different from motor vehicle accidents involving just passenger cars here on our blog.  

Speak with the Truck Accident Attorneys at The Carolina Law Group

If you or a loved one has been injured in a traffic accident with a tractor-trailer and it wasn’t your fault, speak with one of the personal injury attorneys at The Carolina Law Group. We have experience handling semi-truck/tractor-trailer accident cases, and we can help you understand your options and guide you through the process. You have nothing to lose, so call us today at one of the numbers below to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.

The Carolina Law Group has four offices in South Carolina for your convenience: Greenville (principal office; call 864.312.4444), Greer (principal office; call 864.757.5555), Spartanburg (principal office; call 864.312.4444) & West Columbia (principal office; call 803.881.1110).

Call us at one of our four offices or contact us online to schedule your free consultation with one of our attorneys. Our business hours are Monday – Thursday 8:30am – 5:30pm & Friday 8:30 am – 5 pm. Weekend and evening hours by appointment only. Our Greenville, SC law firm offers Spanish, Hindi, and Gujarati language translation services for your convenience.


Matt is a graduate of the South Carolina’s Honors College and the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina where he obtained an undergraduate degree in Business Administration. Matt later obtained a Juris Doctor degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law where was a member of the South Carolina Law Review and the legal fraternity Phi Alpha Delta. Matt’s education and experience provides valuable insight into how insurance companies approach the litigation process. This allows Matt to closely work with his clients in protecting their legal rights from the initial claim stage through trial.

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