2000 Large Truck Crash Overview
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
U.S. Department of Transportation
Publication No. FMCSA-RI-02-002
The mission of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)
is to promote the safe operation of commercial vehicles on our Nations
highways. Of all the people killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2000, 12%
(5,211) died in crashes that involved a large truck. Another 140,000 people
were injured in crashes involving large trucks. Only about 14% of those
killed and 22% of those injured were occupants of large trucks.
From 1990 to 2000, the number of large trucks involved in
fatal crashes increased from 4,776 to 4,930up 3%. The number of large trucks
in fatal crashes per 100 million vehicle miles traveled declined in these
years from 3.3 to 2.4down 27%. The same rate for passenger vehicles fell
from 2.5 to 1.9down 24%.
From 1990 to 2000, the number of large trucks involved
in injury crashes per 100 million vehicle miles traveled declined by 33%,
while the rate for passenger vehicles dropped by 21%.
In 2000, large trucks drove 7% of all vehicle miles traveled and made up
4% of all registered vehicles in the United States. In motor vehicle crashes,
large trucks represented:
9% of vehicles in fatal crashes
3% of vehicles in injury crashes
5% of vehicles in property-damage-only crashes.
Truck tractors pulling semi-trailers accounted for 62% of the trucks
involved in fatal crashes and more than 50% of the trucks involved
in nonfatal crashes.
Doubles (truck tractors pulling a semi-trailer and a full trailer)
were only 3% of trucks involved in crashes, and triples
(tractors pulling three trailers) accounted for less than 0.5%
of all trucks involved in crashes.
Only 5% of trucks involved in fatal crashes and 2% of trucks
involved in nonfatal crashes were carrying hazardous materials (HM).
HM was released from the cargo compartment in about one-fifth of these crashes.
Only 1% of the drivers of large trucks involved in fatal crashes in 2000
were legally intoxicated (blood alcohol content of 0.10 grams per deciliter
or higher), as compared with 19% of passenger car and 20% of light truck
drivers in fatal crashes. Only 2% of the drivers of large trucks involved
in fatal crashes had any alcohol in their bloodstream.
Seventy-one percent of the drivers of large trucks involved in fatal crashes
were reported by police as wearing their safety belts, compared with 56%
of passenger vehicle drivers involved in fatal crashes.
In fatal crashes involving large trucks, crash-related factors were cited
for 36% of the truck drivers. In comparison, crash- related factors were
noted for 65% of passenger vehicle drivers involved in fatal crashes. Some
of the most common factors cited for drivers of large trucks and drivers
of passenger vehicles were the same: driving too fast, running off the
road or out of the traffic lane, and failure to yield the right of way.
Speeding (exceeding the speed limit or driving too fast for conditions)
was a factor in 22% of the fatal crashes involving a large truck, compared
with 31% of all fatal crashes. Seventeen percent of injury crashes involving
a large truck and 19% of all injury crashes were speed related.
No adverse weather conditions were reported for 85% of the fatal crashes
and for 85% of the nonfatal crashes involving large trucks in 2000. Rain
was the most common adverse weather condition.
Two-thirds (68%) of the fatal crashes involving large trucksand four-fifths
(78%) of the nonfatal crashesoccurred during the day.
The vast majority of the fatal crashes involving large trucks (85%) and
of the nonfatal crashes (85%) occurred on Monday through Friday.
For 78% of the fatal crashes and for 68% of the nonfatal crashes involving
large trucks, the first harmful event was a collision with another vehicle
Rollover was the first harmful event for only 4% of the fatal crashes and
only 3% of the nonfatal crashes involving large trucks.
More than one-fifth (22%) of fatal crashes that took place in work zonesareas
of construction, maintenance, or utility activityinvolved a large truck.
Trucks over 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR).
Passenger cars and light truckssuch as vans, 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.
Vehicle Miles Traveled:
Federal Highway Administration.
For more information, contact the Analysis Division at (202) 366-1861.