California Truck Accident Statistics

California is a huge state with a huge economy. If California were its own country, it would be the fifth-most prosperous in the world, with a $2.7 trillion GDP ahead of the UK and India. That economy largely depends upon freight shipments hauled by commercial trucks.

The state of California has more than 14.7 million registered trucks, which includes commercial tractor-trailers, semis, and other heavy-duty vehicles. California also has 2,456 miles of interstate roadways, which are traveled daily by large commercial trucks.

When these trucks mingle with other vehicles on the road, they can cause some major problems. San Luis Obispo truck accidents also happen fairly frequently. To illustrate the scope of the problem, we’ve compiled some truck accident statistics for California and San Luis Obispo County below.

If you’ve been hurt in a truck accident, get an experienced California truck accident lawyer on your side. Call the Ernst Law Group today if you have been hurt and want to know more about your legal right to pursue damages. Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation when you call (805) 678-0272 or contact us online today. 

California State Truck Accident Statistics

Statistics from the California Highway Patrol (CHP) show that there were 6,897 truck crashes in 2017, causing injury or a fatality. In total, 2017 saw 9,710 injuries and 367 deaths caused by truck accidents.

“Unsafe speed” was the most common cause of accidents where the truck driver was at fault. Trucks driving over the speed limit or at speeds too fast for the current road conditions were responsible for 26 fatal crashes and 1,307 injury crashes in 2017. Improper turning was the second-most common truck accident cause, leading to 548 injury crashes and 25 fatal crashes.

Other common crash factors in truck-caused accidents include unsafe lane changes (340 injury accidents in 2017), failing to follow right-of-way laws (252), violating traffic signals and signs (135), and unsafe starting or backing up (95).

The vast majority of truck accidents happened while the driver was proceeding straight down the road rather than turning, stopping, changing lanes, or performing other such maneuvers.

Statistical reports from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reveal that 341 trucks were involved in fatal accidents in California in 2017. Looking at the rate of fatal crashes per million people in the state population, California had a rate of 8.09. This is a somewhat high rate compared to states like New York (5.64), but rural states consistently have a higher fatality rate. Examples include Wyoming (29.35), West Virginia (22.58), North Dakota (27.80), and Idaho (25.63).

Truck Accident Statistics for San Luis Obispo County

The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) and the University of California at Berkeley have partnered to develop the Transportation Injury Mapping System (TIMS) suite of tools.

Using TIMS, we found that from 2010 through 2017, San Luis Obispo County experienced 246 collisions involving large trucks. Eighteen of these were fatal, 34 resulted in severe injury, 76 resulted in moderate visible injuries, and 118 had possible injuries (complaints of pain).

Rear-end collisions were the most common type of crash scenario (35% of all truck crashes). Broadside (t-bone) crashes were the second-highest (18%), and sideswipes were the third-most common (17%). 

Other common scenarios included the following:

  • 27 trucks hit an object
  • 15 trucks overturned
  • 21 trucks had a head-on collision

Using official police crash reports, TIMS reveals that the most common reason for a truck accident in San Luis Obispo County is the same as in the rest of California: unsafe speeds. Excess speeding accidents were the stated cause of 32% of all San Luis Obispo truck collisions.

Notably, 45 accidents involved improper turns, 27 were caused by failure to follow right-of-way laws, and 26 were caused by driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Heatmaps showing areas where the collisions occurred reveal that the following are the most common highways in the San Luis Obispo region for truck crashes:

  • Highway 101 near Pismo Beach
  • Highway 101 near Paso Robles
  • CA-1 near the city of San Luis Obispo
  • CA-46 to CA-41 through Whitley Gardens and Shandon

Fight for Your Right to Compensation with a California Truck Accident Attorney

The high volume of heavy trucks on our freeways puts people on the road in grave danger on a daily basis. While truck accidents may seem relatively rare, they can have life-changing consequences.

If you have been hurt in a truck accident in or near San Luis Obispo County, work with experienced attorneys to claim all of your losses. An insurance settlement from the carrier company can help you repay medical bills, replace your lost wages, and compensate you for your pain and suffering.

Find out more about your legal rights and the strategies you could use during a free, no-obligation consultation with Ernst Law Group at (805) 678-0272, or contact us online to schedule your free appointment now.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.