Which Trucking Companies Have the Most Accidents?

Trucking companies play a large and important role in American commerce. That’s not a surprise to most Oregon drivers, given the sheer number of semi-trucks encountered on the road every day. In fact, the Federal Highway Administration calculates that more than 71 percent of freight in the United States is carried by truck. From the cars that we drive, to the consumer goods we use on a daily basis, the great majority of products we rely upon have spent time being transported by an 18-wheeler.

However, where there are benefits, there are also burdens. With so many big trucks on the road, there are bound to be accidents. And when a semi-truck is involved in a crash, the consequences can be horrendous.

But have you ever wondered what trucking company has the most accidents? Is there any way to find out the safety record of a trucking company? In this article, we’ll answer those questions.

What trucking company has the most accidents?

Below, we provide a few examples from trucking companies you may be familiar with. The following examples are based upon data for the 24 months preceding February, 2021:

  1. UPS reported a whopping 2,632 crashes, with 950 injuries and 56 deaths.
  2. Werner Enterprises, Inc. reported 983 crashes, resulting in 306 injuries and 24 fatalities.
  3. Averitt Express, Inc. – The company reported 412 crashes, resulting in 130 injuries and 8 fatalities.
  4. Fedex Express reported 401 crashes, with 146 injuries and 9 fatalities.

Keep in mind that when determining what trucking company has the most accidents, a variety of factors should be considered, including the number of miles driven and the severity of the accidents. For example, two companies could have a similar number of accidents, with one of the companies driving many more miles before accruing that number of accidents.

Additionally, the high numbers of accidents sometimes correlate with the size of a company. For example, UPS has many more accidents than Werner Enterprises, but it also has over 118,000 drivers on the road compared to Werner’s 9,689. So, if we assume that each accident occurred in a different truck/with a different driver, UPS’s crashes thus represent about .02% of its total drivers, while Werner’s crashes comprise 10% of its total drivers.

Is There a Way to Check the Safety History of Individual Interstate Trucking Companies?

The answer is yes. Federal regulations require interstate carriers to report accidents if a death results from the accident, if immediate medical treatment is required away from the scene, or if disabling property damage causes a vehicle to be towed from the scene.

The FMCSA maintains a database that can be searched through a system called SAFER (which stands for “Safety and Fitness Electronic Records” System). The system provides a variety of data, including crash statistics. You can also review inspection statistics, the number of drivers for the company, and the number of miles driven.

The accident numbers reported above have been obtained from the SAFER record system.

Why It Matters: Lots of Trucks Means Lots of Accidents

In 2018, trucks carried 11.49 billion tons of freight and generated $796.7 billion in gross freight revenues. It follows that there is a great number of trucking companies doing business in the United States. According to ATA (based upon data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration), more than 1.7 million motor carriers were operating in the United States as of May 2019. More than 892,000 of these are for-hire carriers; in excess of 777,000 are private carriers (meaning they meet the needs of their own company and are not hired by third parties).

With so many trucks, there are lots of accidents. The FMCSA reports that in 2018, there were 164,559 crashes involving large trucks, resulting in 79,903 injuries and 4,711 deaths. Between January 1, 2019, and June 30, 2019, large trucks were involved in more than 78,000 crashes, resulting in 2,148 fatalities and more than 37,000 injuries.

Though the exact trucking company with the most accidents will naturally fluctuate year-to-year, the reality is that all trucks present a potential danger when drivers don’t act responsibly.

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