Semi-Truck Accident Statistics

A damaged front end of a semi-truck after being in an accident.

Semi-truck accidents are a growing concern on our roads today. These vehicular incidents involving large commercial trucks, also known as tractor-trailers or big rigs, can have devastating consequences for all parties involved. Truck driver accidents can cause serious injuries and death, leaving families devastated. 

Semi-truck accident statistics

In order to understand the magnitude of this issue and its impact on road safety, it is important to examine semi-truck accident statistics. This allows us to gain insight into key trends and patterns surrounding these accidents, identifying potential areas for improvement to prevent future occurrences and ensure the well-being of drivers, passengers, bicyclists, and pedestrians. 

According to the IIHS

  • 4,714 people died in semi-truck accidents in 2021
  • The number of deaths in semi-truck accidents was 17 percent higher in 2021 than in 2020
  • Truck occupant deaths accounted for 16 percent of truck driver accident fatalities
  • 68 percent of the fatalities were occupants of cars and passenger vehicles
  • Motorcyclist, bicyclist, and pedestrian deaths amounted to 15 percent
  • The number of deaths was 50 percent higher in 2021 than in 2009
  • The number of truck occupant deaths was 68 percent higher than in 2009
  • 36 percent of truck accidents occur on interstates and freeways
  • 48 percent of deaths from semi-truck accidents occur on major roads other than interstates and freeways
  • Only 16 percent of fatal accidents occurred on minor roads
  • 63 percent of semi-truck accidents occur between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.
  • 33 percent of truck crashes occurred on Saturday and Sunday
  • 52 percent of truck occupant deaths occurred from crashes where the semi-truck rolled over
  • Passenger vehicles were responsible for 89 percent of crash deaths

How many semi-truck drivers are there in the U.S.?

According to the American Trucking Association, 3.54 million truck drivers were employed in the U.S. in 2022, an increase of 1.5 percent from 2021. An additional 8.4 million people work in the trucking industry. There are more trucks on the road than ever before, but the fatality rate per mile driven has declined significantly since 1975, when it was 3.39 and, in 2021, it was 0.98. 

How many semi-truck accidents per year?

There are about 500,000 truck accidents resulting in property damage annually. On average, a truck crash occurs every 15 minutes, injuring or killing someone. With the number of trucks on the road increasing, the number of semi-truck accidents has also increased 12 percent since 2020, with around 117,000 injury crashes annually. Of those, about 5,000 fatalities occur yearly. 

How many truckers die each year?

Approximately 625 truckers die each year. Of the nearly 4,000 people who lose their lives each year in crashes involving trucks, 15 percent of victims are in the truck at the time of the accident. A trucker is most likely to die in an accident if the accident involves two or more trucks.

How long does an accident stay on your CDL record?

The duration of an accident on a commercial driver’s license (CDL) record can vary depending on the specific state and circumstances involved. In most cases, it is common for accidents to remain on a CDL record for around three to five years. However, this duration may be extended if more serious violations or injuries were involved in the accident.

How common are truck accidents?

Truck accidents are, unfortunately, quite common. Statistics indicate that truck accidents comprise a significant portion of all traffic accidents. While commercial trucks represent only a small fraction of vehicles on the road, their size and weight can contribute to more severe consequences when an accident occurs.

What are the causes of semi-truck accidents?

There are several common causes of semi-truck accidents, including:

  • Increased stopping distance: It takes longer to stop in a truck than in a passenger vehicle. If a truck driver doesn’t leave enough space for the vehicles in front of them, they may cause a crash.
  • Poor maintenance: Failing to do routine maintenance or paying attention to signs of trouble can cause a crash.
  • Inadequate rest: Truck drivers often work long hours. Sometimes, they get paid by the mile. When truck drivers work too long without rest, fatigue can set in. The result may be a tragic crash. 
  • Road conditions: It’s up to all drivers, including truck drivers, to make adjustments for conditions on the road. When it’s snowy, rainy, or dark, a truck driver has to make adjustments. If they don’t account for the conditions on the road, a truck driver may cause an accident.
  • Speeding: When a truck driver travels above the speed limit, it makes it harder for them to react to hazards on the roads. Truck drivers should follow speed limits at all times. Speeding not only makes a crash more likely to occur, but it can make a collision more serious than it would have been if the truck driver had been traveling the speed limit.
  • Aggressive driving: This includes tailgating, excessive speeding, abrupt lane changes, and failure to yield. When truck drivers exhibit aggressive driving habits or other motorists engage in hostile actions, it can lead to dangerous situations on the road.
  • Tire defects: Malfunctioning or poorly maintained tires can cause blowouts or tread separation while a truck is in motion. These sudden tire failures can result in loss of control and potentially catastrophic accidents.
  • Distracted driving: Distractions include activities like using mobile devices, eating or drinking while driving, adjusting controls inside the vehicle, or even external distractions like looking at billboards. When truck drivers divert their attention away from the road, they increase the risk of collisions and may not react to changing traffic conditions promptly. 

Colorado semi-truck accident statistics

In the State of Colorado, 74 fatal accidents involving semi-trucks occurred in 2020. Those crashes represent 8.4 percent of all fatal accidents in Colorado. By comparison, there were 259 fatal accidents involving passenger vehicles, 138 fatal accidents involving motorcycles, and 393 fatal accidents involving light trucks.

Semi-truck accident lawsuit statistics

Less than one percent of semi-truck accident lawsuits go to trial. Almost all semi-truck accident cases resolve through a negotiated agreement between the parties. Most often, you bring your lawsuit to the state court where the accident occurs. However, there are some cases where you file your case in a federal court or a different state court.

Rights for semi-truck accident victims in Colorado

Colorado has strong laws that protect the rights of semi-truck accident victims. When you’re the victim of a semi-truck accident, you have the right to seek financial compensation. Colorado law doesn’t differentiate between cases with minor injuries and cases with severe injuries; all truck accident victims can bring a claim for monetary compensation against the responsible party.

Semi-truck accidents and your right to recovery

Semi-truck accidents can have devastating implications for those involved. If you or a loved one has been injured in a semi-truck accident, it is crucial to understand your rights to recovery.

Victims may be entitled to seek compensation for their damages and losses. This can include medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, property damage, lost wages due to inability to work, pain and suffering, and other related expenses.

Determining liability in semi-truck accidents can be complex. Multiple parties, including third-party contractors, may be involved. 

To protect your rights and maximize your chances of recovery, seeking legal representation from an experienced personal injury truck driver lawyer specializing in truck accidents is crucial. They can navigate complex legal processes, gather evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and present a strong case on your behalf.

Furthermore, every state has specific time limits within which you must file a lawsuit for your claim to be valid. These statutes of limitations vary by jurisdiction, so it is important to consult with a truck driver lawyer promptly to understand and meet the applicable deadlines.

While no amount of compensation can truly undo the physical and emotional trauma caused by a semi-truck accident, seeking recovery can help alleviate financial burdens and provide some sense of justice. 

Denver attorneys for semi-truck accident claims

A Denver semi-truck accident lawyer reviewing paperwork with their client at their desk. Next to him is a gavel.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a semi-truck accident in Denver, don’t wait to seek the representation and compensation you deserve. Bachus & Schanker specialize in semi-truck accident claims. Our Elite Litigation Group specifically handles catastrophic injury and wrongful death claims. Our experienced legal team will fight tirelessly for your rights and guide you through the complex legal process to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.


Economics and Industry Data. (2023).

Fatality Facts 2021: Large Trucks. (2023).

Kopestinsky, A. (2023). 24 Disturbing Truck Accident Statistics (2023 Edition).

Vehicles Involved in Fatal Crashes by Vehicle Type. (2020).

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