These 10 States Have the Highest Average of Fatal Large Truck Crashes
Large trucks were involved in 117,300 crashes resulting in injury in 2021, according to the latest statistics from the National Safety Council’s annual Injury Facts report. A total of 5,788 people died in fatal truck accidents that same year—a 17% increase from the previous year and a shocking 47% increase over the past decade.
Texas logged the most fatal truck accidents by far that year, nearly twice as many as the second-place state, California. Here’s a closer look at how the statistics broke down:
Number of large trucks in fatal crashes by state and percentage of national total:
- Texas – 832 (15%)
- California – 416 (7%)
- Florida – 366 (6%)
- Georgia – 245 (4%)
- Ohio – 204 (4%)
- Indiana – 184 (3%)
- Tennessee – 183 (3%)
- Illinois – 177 (3%)
- North Carolina – 164 (3%)
- Pennsylvania – 163 (3%)
Total deaths in fatal truck accidents by state:
- Texas – 806
- California – 437
- Florida – 373
- Georgia – 244
- Ohio – 220
- Illinois – 180
- Tennessee – 179
- North Carolina – 172
- Indiana – 167
- Pennsylvania – 162
The ten states listed above share 51% of fatal crashes
in the United States in 2021. Fatal crashes involving large trucks often occur in rural areas and on Interstate highways. The states listed serve as a hub for accidents because their highways are known to regularly transport large cargo.
The states (including DC) with the fewest deaths resulting from large truck crashes were:
- District of Columbia – 1
- Rhode Island – 3
- Hawaii – 7
- New Hampshire – 7
How can I avoid getting in an accident with an 18-wheeler?
Avoiding accidents with 18-wheelers requires a combination of defensive driving techniques, awareness, and understanding the limitations of these large vehicles. Here are some tips to help you stay safe when sharing the road with 18-wheelers:
- Stay visible: Make sure the truck driver can see you. Stay out of their blind spots (known as "no-zones") – these are areas where their mirrors may not provide full coverage. If you can't see the driver's face in their side mirrors, they can't see you.
- Maintain a safe following distance: Trucks need much more stopping distance than smaller vehicles. A good rule of thumb is to stay at least 4-6 seconds behind an 18-wheeler. This gives you time to react to any sudden changes.
- Avoid sudden lane changes: Give trucks plenty of space when changing lanes. Cutting in front of a truck too closely can reduce their stopping distance and put you at risk.
- Use turn signals early: When passing a truck or merging in front of it, use your turn signals early and maintain a steady speed. Trucks take longer to slow down, so sudden lane changes can be dangerous.
- Pass safely: When passing a truck, do it quickly but safely. Signal your intention, accelerate to a safe passing speed, and don't linger in the truck's blind spot.
- Avoid distractions: Distracted driving is dangerous around any vehicle, but it's especially risky around 18-wheelers due to their size and limited maneuverability. Keep your focus on the road.
- Watch for wide turns: Trucks have a larger turning radius, so be cautious when a truck is making a turn, especially right turns. They might need to swing out to complete the maneuver.
- Be patient: Large trucks might move slower on steep hills or when accelerating from a stop. Give them the space they need and avoid tailgating.
- Obey traffic laws: Follow all traffic laws, including speed limits and signals. Aggressive driving around 18-wheelers can be dangerous.
- Stay alert at intersections: Many accidents with trucks occur at intersections. Double-check both ways before proceeding through an intersection, even if you have the right of way.
- Use precautions in adverse weather: Be extra cautious in adverse weather conditions. Rain, snow, and fog can reduce visibility and increase stopping distances for both you and the truck driver.
- Avoid fatigue: If you're driving long distances, make sure you're well-rested. Fatigue can impair your reaction times and decision-making abilities.
- Use mirrors and headlights: Use your mirrors and headlights effectively to make yourself more visible to truck drivers.
- Report unsafe driving: If you observe a truck driver behaving recklessly or unsafely, report it to the appropriate authorities.
Remember that safe driving practices apply to all vehicles on the road, but the size and weight of 18-wheelers make them more challenging to maneuver and stop quickly. Being proactive, alert, and courteous while sharing the road with these vehicles can significantly reduce the risk of accidents.
What should I do if I’ve been involved in a truck accident?
If you find yourself involved in a truck accident, it's essential to follow certain steps to ensure your safety, the safety of others, and the proper handling of the situation. Here's what you should do:
- Check for injuries: First and foremost, check yourself and others for injuries. If anyone is seriously injured, call 911 immediately.
- Move to safety: If it's safe to do so, move your vehicle to the side of the road or a safe area to prevent further accidents or hazards. Turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers.
- Call for help: Regardless of the severity of the accident, it's a good idea to call the police. They will create an accident report, which can be helpful for insurance claims.
- Exchange information: Exchange contact, insurance, and vehicle information with the truck driver. Make sure to get the truck's license plate number, company name, and driver's license information.
- Gather evidence: If it's safe, take photos of the accident scene, the vehicles involved, their positions, and any damage. This can be valuable evidence for insurance claims and legal proceedings.
- Collect witness information: If there are any witnesses to the accident, ask for their contact information. Their statements can help clarify what happened.
- Don’t admit fault: Avoid admitting fault or apologizing at the scene, even if you think you might be partially responsible. Fault determination can be complex and should be left to the insurance companies and authorities.
- Report the accident to your insurance company: Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to report the accident and provide them with accurate information.
- Seek medical attention: Even if you don't feel seriously injured, it's a good idea to get a medical evaluation. Some injuries might not manifest immediately, and having a medical record can be important for insurance claims.
- Document details: Make notes about the accident, including the time, location, road conditions, weather, and any other relevant details. This can help you remember crucial information later.
- Contact a truck accident attorney: If the accident resulted in significant damage, injuries, or disputes about fault, consider consulting with a personal injury attorney who handles truck accident cases. They can provide guidance on your legal rights and help you navigate the process.
Get top-notch accident representation with Wyatt Law Firm
When you’ve been injured by a large truck or bus, you need a firm that has the experience to give you the justice you deserve. With over 30 years of experience seeking justice, Wyatt Law Firm’s advanced team of skilled attorneys has exactly what it takes to help you retrieve maximum compensation
We aggressively seek top results for people throughout Texas and the nation, including the cities of San Antonio, Dallas, Houston, Austin, Laredo, and Corpus Christi. Give us a call at 210-871-0628
in order to get a free consultation with a Wyatt Law Firm team member. You can also submit a confidential fact sheet
and we’ll get right back to you. Get a fighter on your side today.