Post Pandemic, Truck Accidents and Fatalities on the Rise in Massachusetts

As traffic volume in the U.S. (and Massachusetts) rebounded after the pandemic of 2020, so did traffic fatalities. Deaths involving large trucks were no exception. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), estimated fatalities in accidents involving at least one large truck jumped 13% between 2020 and 2021. This means that last year alone, over 5,600 people died in truck crashes in the United States.

Noting that this number represents an “unfathomable” 52% increase in truck accident fatalities since 2010, the Truck Safety Coalition issued a statement saying “What more is needed to take safety seriously? We need to do everything possible to reverse this terrifying trend because lives hang in the balance.”

Large Truck Crash Fatality Statistics 2021

In May 2022, NHTSA issued its report summarizing early data estimates on motor vehicle traffic fatalities in 2021. The following statistics describe the changes between 2020 and 2021 in estimated fatalities resulting from accidents involving large trucks:

  • Overall truck accident fatalities increased 13 percent.
  • Pedestrian deaths went up 13 percent.
  • Driver fatalities climbed 12 percent.
  • Vehicle passenger deaths grew 9 percent.
  • Motorcyclist fatalities increased 9 percent.
  • Bicyclist deaths went up 5 percent.

Large Truck Traffic Accident Facts

A month earlier, NHTSA released its 2020 annual traffic safety facts for large trucks (defined as having a gross vehicle weight rating greater than 10,000 pounds). The data included the following five key truck accident takeaways:

  1. Victim Profile: Around 17 percent of fatalities were occupants of large trucks, whereas 84 percent were either occupants of other vehicles or nonoccupants (cyclists, pedestrians, etc.).
  2. Heavy Trucks: 72 percent of the large trucks involved in fatal crashes were heavy large trucks (a gross vehicle weight rating of over 26,000 pounds).
  3. Multi-Vehicle Accidents: 80 percent of large trucks in fatal traffic accidents were involved in multi-vehicle crashes, compared to 61 percent for passenger vehicles.
  4. Deaths in Other Vehicles: An average of 71 percent of truck crash fatalities were occupants of other vehicles (2016-2020).
  5. Injuries in Other Vehicles: An average of 70 percent of truck accident injuries were occupants of other vehicles (2016-2020).

In short, fatal truck crashes were more likely to involve multiple vehicles and heavy trucks, and truck accident victims were more likely to be occupants of other cars than occupants of the truck.

Massachusetts Truck Accident Lawyers

Because of their size and weight, trucks can cause severe injuries when they crash. If you are one of the nearly 150,000 people injured in truck accidents on average each year, you may be facing expensive medical bills and lost wages. The experienced Boston truck accident lawyers at Altman & Altman LLP can help you seek financial compensation for your medical costs, lost income, and pain and suffering. If a loved one died in a fatal truck accident, you may qualify to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Trucking companies and insurance agencies may try to contact you immediately after the crash. To protect your rights, we recommend consulting a MA truck accident attorney as soon as possible — preferably before responding to truck company representatives. The attorneys at Altman & Altman LLP are available to speak with you 24/7, so contact us today for a free consultation on your truck accident injury case.


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