How Common Are Truck Accidents in California?

Semi-trucks, 18-wheelers, tractor-trailers – no matter what you call them, these large commercial shipping trucks are a staple of California highways. But due to their sheer size, weight (about 80,000 pounds when fully loaded), and inertia, a semi-truck can cause more destruction in a traffic accident than any other type of vehicle. 

Many truck crash victims suffer grievous injuries, and some victims may not survive the accident.

So just how common are truck accidents in California? How likely are you to be involved in a trucking accident?

California Truck Accident Statistics

California is home to several major port cities. These are import destinations where goods are loaded onto tractor-trailers and transported across the country. And as a major agricultural producer, California ships plenty of food to other states. 

Because of the high number of semi-trucks on its highways, it’s little wonder that California has some of the highest rates of commercial accidents each year. In fact, only Texas surpasses California for the highest number of fatal commercial truck accidents annually.

Some startling numbers for California semi-truck accidents include:  

  • In 2020, there were 3,558 fatal truck accidents, resulting in over 3,800 fatalities
  • 1% of semi-truck operators perished vs. 36% of passenger car occupants
  • 15% of truck accident deaths involved pedestrians or bike travelers

Most of the truck accidents occurred on California highways. The higher rates of speed involved in these collisions make the possibility of an accident more likely. Counties with higher concentrations of populations, such as Los Angeles County and Marin County, end up seeing higher rates of truck accidents.

Avoiding Truck Accidents

Understanding how truck accidents happen can help drivers avoid getting involved in one. Defensive driving and being aware of truck safety can go a long way toward keeping you and your passengers safe. 

Large trucks require a greater distance to stop, so cutting one off in traffic can increase your chances of being rear-ended. And these commercial trailers have larger blind spots, too, which means that if you’re traveling close beside one, there’s a good chance that the driver can’t see you.

Other common causes of California truck accidents include:  

  • Reckless or negligent driving, speeding, or failing to signal a lane change
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Distracted driving, like using a cell phone while operating the vehicle
  • Improperly maintained vehicle – faulty brakes or other mechanisms
  • Tired driving, which can be just as dangerous as drunk driving

Regulations to Prevent Truck Accidents

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates semi-truck safety, including how many hours the drivers are allowed to drive before a mandatory rest period and the qualifications to obtain and retain a commercial driving license.

Although a passenger car driver carries responsibility for defensive driving, if a truck driver is violating safety standards or otherwise operating the vehicle recklessly or negligently, they would carry the responsibility for the accident and the resulting injuries of all parties involved.

What should you do after you’ve been involved in a truck accident?

Your safety and that of your passengers should be your first concern. Call 911 for medical assistance right after the wreck. When you call for emergency help, a local police officer will also respond. They collect details of the accident, including the road conditions, witness statements, and an analysis of the likely cause of the collision.

The official accident report is critical information for your truck accident attorney to build a case against the at-fault driver for your injuries. 

Contact Us Today

Although you probably aren’t thinking, “I need a truck accident lawyer near me,” right after the accident, it’s best to have professional legal advice sooner rather than later to protect your rights.

At Saeedian Law Group, our personal injury attorneys in Los Angeles, CA, can help if you or a loved one was injured following a collision with a semi-truck. Reach out to our office today.