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Types of Trucks Involved in Accidents

Comprehensive Guide to Commercial Trucks Involved in Accidents: Statistics and Prevention Tips

Understanding the types of commercial trucks involved in accidents is crucial for drivers and fleet managers to take necessary precautions and reduce the risk of collisions. This comprehensive guide will provide an overview of the most common types of commercial trucks involved in accidents, the causes of these accidents, and actionable tips to prevent them.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there were approximately 499,000 police-reported crashes involving large trucks in the United States in 2018. Of these crashes, 4,415 were fatal, and 107,000 resulted in injuries. Knowing the types of trucks involved in these accidents can help identify potential risks and implement preventive measures.
Common Types of Commercial Trucks Involved in Accidents

  1. Tractor-Trailers

Tractor-trailers, also known as semi-trucks or 18-wheelers, are large trucks with a powerful engine (tractor) towing a cargo trailer. These trucks are often involved in accidents due to their size, weight, and limited maneuverability.

  1. Dump Trucks

Dump trucks are used to transport loose materials such as sand, gravel, or dirt. Their high center of gravity and heavy loads can make them prone to rollover accidents, especially on uneven terrain or during sharp turns.

  1. Tanker Trucks

Tanker trucks transport liquids or gases, such as gasoline, chemicals, or milk. Accidents involving tanker trucks can be particularly dangerous due to the potential for hazardous material spills or explosions.

  1. Delivery Trucks

Delivery trucks, such as box trucks or cargo vans, are used to transport goods and packages. These trucks are often involved in accidents in urban areas due to frequent stops, tight spaces, and increased pedestrian traffic.
Causes of Accidents

The most common causes of accidents involving commercial trucks include:

Driver fatigue: Long hours behind the wheel can lead to drowsy driving, impairing reaction times and decision-making abilities.
Distracted driving: Using a phone, eating, or engaging in other distractions while driving can cause a driver to lose focus on the road.
Poor vehicle maintenance: Failing to properly maintain a truck can lead to equipment failure, such as brake malfunctions or tire blowouts.
Speeding: Driving too fast for road conditions increases the risk of losing control of the vehicle and causing an accident.

Prevention Tips for Drivers and Fleet Managers

Driver Training Programs: Implement comprehensive driver training programs that focus on safe driving practices, defensive driving techniques, and proper handling of various types of commercial trucks.

Regular Vehicle Inspections: Conduct routine inspections to ensure trucks are properly maintained and in compliance with safety regulations. This includes checking brakes, tires, lights, and other essential components.

Safety Technology: Utilize safety technology, such as electronic logging devices (ELDs) to monitor driver hours and prevent fatigue, as well as collision avoidance systems and lane departure warning systems to enhance overall safety.

Encourage Breaks and Rest: Ensure drivers take regular breaks and adhere to hours-of-service regulations to prevent fatigue-related accidents.

Implement a Distracted Driving Policy: Create and enforce a policy that prohibits the use of handheld devices while driving and encourages drivers to stay focused on the road.


By understanding the most common types of commercial trucks involved in accidents and their causes, drivers and fleet managers can take proactive steps to reduce the risk of collisions. Implementing driver training programs, conducting regular vehicle inspections, and utilizing safety technology can significantly improve safety and prevent accidents involving commercial trucks.