Truck Accidents in New Jersey

Truck Accidents in New Jersey


Over the last decade, New Jersey's truck accident fatalities increased by 50%

Truck Accident Trends Affecting the Roads of New Jersey

The figures cited by the Institute for Safer Trucking (IST) and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) reflect a disturbing trend nationally and within New Jersey.

According to the NHTSA, there were 54 fatal truck accident collisions in New Jersey in 2020. This is up from 32 crashes and 35 deaths in 2018 and 30 crashes and 36 deaths in 2019. The most common factor resulting in New Jersey and nationwide truck accidents was driver inattention.

The majority (62 percent) of fatal large truck crashes involved two vehicles.

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Data Sources for Our New Jersey Truck Accident Report

The data used for this report was taken from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the Institute for Safer Trucking (IST), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), the American Trucking Association (ATA), the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT), and the New Jersey State Police (NJSP).

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Overview of Commercial Truck Accident Data in New Jersey and Nationwide

Large commercial truck crashes often happen on Interstate highways and in rural areas. Roughly 57 percent of those accidents occurred in rural areas, while 25 percent happened on highways. The remaining 13 percent of those collisions were split into both categories.

Most accidents happened between 6:00 pm and 6:00 am. Thirty-seven percent of these collisions were fatal, and 24 percent resulted in injuries. Notably, 82 percent of fatal large truck accidents happened during the week. Eighty-seven percent of non-fatal accidents also occurred during the work week.

In 2020, 26 percent of fatal crashes in a work zone involved at least one large truck, and 15 percent of injuries incurred in a work zone in the aftermath of a big rig accident involved at least one commercial truck.

Nationally there were 13.65 truck crashes per million people – a 29 percent jump from 10.6 per million in 2010. And on average, in 2019, there were 1.12 deaths involving large trucks. There was one death in 91 percent of those wrecks, and 82 percent of those who died were not large truck occupants.

Families of victims of fatal truck accidents and those injured in truck accidents can seek help from personal injury attorneys. Plaintiffs can seek compensation for medical bills, property damage, pain and suffering, lost income, and more.

57% of truck accidents occur in rural areas, 25% on highways, 36% of fatal truck accidents between 6pm and 6am, and 22 percent of non fatal truck accidents occur during the same period.

Concerns Regarding New Jersey Truck Accident Deaths

The IST reports truck accident deaths have risen 50 percent between 2010 and 2019. By doing an analysis of data collated by the NHTSA and also examining the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), the IST then passes the information along to the public. From there, the IST creates fact sheets for all states. The sheets point out the most important trends of concern. The IST has released all fact sheets, including one for New Jersey.

Large truck crashes resulting in fatalities are increasing, partly due to the increased number of heavy trucks and other passenger vehicles on the road since Covid-19 restrictions were eased.

Fifty-four people lost their lives in New Jersey in 2020 in the aftermath of a large truck crash. Nationally, the number who died in similar wrecks was 4,965. Most deaths, 76 percent, occurred on weekdays.

Nationwide, of those who died in truck accidents, 71 percent were passengers and/or drivers in another vehicle, 18 percent were truck drivers, and 11 percent involved pedal-cyclists and pedestrians.

The 2020 large truck accident the death tally reflected:


were passengers and/or drivers in another vehicle


were truck drivers


were involved pedal-cyclists and pedestrians

Two Vehicle Collisions and the National Rate

Data gathered by the IST indicates that 64 percent of fatal truck crashes involved two or more vehicles. This is close to the national rate of truck crashes, which stands at 62 percent. Roughly 57 percent of these wrecks happened in rural America, 25 percent occurred on Interstate highways, and 13 percent of the crashes were split between rural and Interstate highways.

Additionally, 11 percent of fatal work zone crashes involved a big rig, which is lower than the national average but still a great concern. Chiming in with agreement, the FMCSA indicated large trucks were overrepresented in these kinds of accidents, and the issue had to be addressed. In a move to address accidents, the FMCSA is also examining changing the hours-of-service regulation to give truckers more flexibility to take breaks.

Trucking Industry Overview

In 2020, according to the America Trucking Association (ATA), there were 38.9 million trucks registered for business use, representing 24 percent of all registered trucks. And in 2020, there were 3.97 million Class 8 trucks, which includes straight trucks and tractors registered – a 1.5 percent increase over 2019.

As of February 2021, the U.S. Department of Transportation indicated there were 996,894 for-hire carriers with the FMCSA umbrella. Private carriers totaled 813,440, and other Interstate carriers sat at 83,235. On analysis, 7.65 million people were working in the trucking niche in 2020, excluding the self-employed. And, 3.36 million drivers were working in 2020 – a decrease of 6.8 percent over 2019.

Fatal Crashes by Vehicle Type in the U.S. in 2020

Fatal Crashes by Vehicle Type

People Killed in Crashes Involving Large Trucks in 2020

Large Truck Fatal Crashes

Top Most Frequent 10 Driver Violations in 2020

Top 10 Driver Violations

Top Most Frequent 10 Vehicle Violations in 2020

Top 10 Vehicle Violations

Causes of Truck Accidents

Determining liability in trucking accidents is one of the primary concerns after an accident. Many different factors determine liability. Truck accidents often involve many individuals and companies, or agencies.


The NHTSA has found that one person is killed in a DUI wreck approximately every 50 minutes in the U.S. in 2019. On average, from 2010 to 2020, more than 10,000 people died every year in drunk-driving crashes.

Intoxication may also be a factor in large truck accidents and deaths. In 2020, 132 people died as the result of DUI crashes involving large trucks, which is three percent of the total number of DUI-related deaths in the United States.

Nationwide, 3,917 people died in light truck accidents involving an impaired driver. A recent New Jersey case illustrates this phenomenon. On February 6, 2022, an accident involving a pickup truck in New Jersey killed one person and critically injured another. The accident happened in the 600 block of Route 57. The pickup truck driver was speeding while racing two other cars. The pickup became airborne, and landed on the second story of a Washington Township, New Jersey home.

The 24-year-old passenger was killed, and the woman on the home's second story was critically injured

Truck Accident Liability

Determining liability in trucking accidents is one of the primary concerns after an accident. Many different factors determine liability. Truck accidents often involve many individuals and companies, or agencies.

Truck Accident Liabilities

For an injured plaintiff or a wrongful death case, the family of the deceased needs to provide evidence to hold a trucking company and/or the trucker, and/or the insurance company liable for the crash. As for the trucking company, its first order of business is to maintain its reputation.

Contact a Truck Accident Attorney at the Todd J. Leonard Law Firm

If you have been in a truck accident, call us to discuss your case. At the Todd J. Leonard Law Firm, we know what it takes to obtain the compensation you need and deserve if you are injured.

Our New Jersey personal injury attorneys have over 35 years of experience aggressively representing seriously injured clients in all types of accident claims.

We have recovered over $100 million for our clients and can effectively negotiate with even the largest insurance companies on your behalf. We have successfully served thousands of clients throughout New Jersey.

To learn more about how we can help you pursue a personal injury claim, give us a call today at (973) 920-7900 to request a free and confidential consultation. There is never a fee unless we win.