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10 Truck Accident Statistics in Australia (Updated in 2023)

crashed truck

Note: This article’s statistics come from third-party sources and do not represent the opinions of this website.

In Australia, like most places around the world, accidents happen almost every day—just this year, there were over 1,200 road deaths across Australia.

While general road accident statistics include all types of vehicles, one of the categories that stands out is trucks. The Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Transport says that driving a truck is one of the deadliest industries in Australia.

Numerous road accidents include trucks, which is why we’ll go over some of Australia’s most shocking truck accident statistics below.

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The 10 Truck Accident Statistics in Australia

  1. Truck drivers in Australia have a 13% higher risk of dying during work than other professions.
  2. One of the leading causes of truck crashes is human error at over 42.5%.
  3. Speeding has reached a record low in truck accident causation and is currently responsible for only 12.5% of accidents.
  4. Fatigue is currently responsible for 8.2% of truck accidents in Australia.
  5. In 2020, there were 177 deaths in Australia caused by crashes involving trucks; a decrease of 6.8% compared to 2019.
  6. Per the total number of heavy truck fatalities in 2020, around 56% of light vehicle drivers/passengers died, while 18% of heavy truck drivers died.
  7. Around 510 heavy truck drivers/passengers are hospitalized yearly due to truck accidents and 34% have life-threatening injuries.
  8. By the end of September 2022, 194 people had died in road accidents involving heavy trucks.
  9. In 2022, truck accident fatalities in Australia increased significantly.
  10. In November 2022, there were 7 light truck crashes, 3 articulated truck crashes, 3 heavy truck crashes, and no heavy rigid truck crashes.

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Dangers of the Trucking Industry

1. Truck drivers in Australia have a 13% higher risk of dying during work than other professions

(Monash)

Research by Monash University found that truck drivers have a 13% higher risk of dying during work than other careers and professions. Over ¾ of driving fatalities involve truck crashes. Because of that, the trucking industry is one of the most dangerous industries in Australia. The crashes typically happen due to long driving hours, tiredness, and similar issues which affect the driver. Overall, this type of job and industry is quite dangerous, both for truck drivers and people in vehicles driving near them.

Australian truck drivers
Image Credit: u_be6c94jrut, Pixabay

2. One of the leading causes of truck crashes is human error at over 42.5%

(NTI)

While truck accidents happen for multiple reasons, one of the leading causes of truck accidents and crashes is human error (driver error), at over 42.5%. Most truck drivers have long working hours, they have to sit in one position for a long time, yet they have to focus on the road. As we’re all human, many truck drivers experience fatigue, tiredness, and similar problems that prevent them from being able to operate the vehicle properly, which is why accidents happen.


3. Speeding has reached a record low in truck accident causation and is currently responsible for only 12.5% of accidents

(NTI)

In the last few years, there have been multiple truck accidents in Australia due to inappropriate speed. However, those numbers have decreased in the past year and have reached a record low level at 12.5%. The biggest reason for truck accidents is human error, although there are occasional problems with fatigue, alcohol and drug abuse, and distraction. Speeding still occurs, although it’s not as common as it used to be, so hopefully, the situation should improve even more next year.

Truck on the Highway
Image Credit: Ely Penner, Pixabay

4. Fatigue is currently responsible for 8.2% of truck accidents in Australia

(NTI)

As we mentioned in the fact above, there are multiple truck accidents causes, and fatigue is one of them. However, fatigue is responsible for only 8.2% of truck accidents in Australia, which is low compared to previous years. That said, there has been an improvement in the lack of fatigue in truck drivers, which is highly beneficial.

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Truck Accident Statistics in Past Years

5. In 2020, there were 177 deaths in Australia caused by crashes involving trucks; a decrease of 6.8% compared to 2019

(BITRE)

We can say that 2020 was “good” when it comes to the number of deaths involving truck crashes, as there were only 177. Although that is still a high number of fatalities, it’s 6.8% lower than in 2019, which shows that the situation improved slightly. The fatalities involving articulated trucks in 2020 were 5.1% higher than in 2019, while the fatalities involving heavy rigid trucks in 2020 were 20.2% lower than in 2019. Overall, only truck accidents that involve articulated trucks increased, while accidents caused by other types of trucks decreased.

Collision of a semi truck with box trailer a passenger car on the highway road
Image Credit: Vitpho, Shutterstock

6. Per the total number of heavy truck fatalities in 2020, around 56% of light vehicle drivers/passengers died, while 18% of heavy truck drivers died

(BITRE)

Although 2020 had fewer overall heavy truck accident fatalities, they were still happening. Per the total number of heavy truck fatalities in 2020, around 56% of light vehicle drivers/passengers died, while 18% of heavy truck drivers died. That said, such accidents are typically way more dangerous for people in light vehicles as they’re smaller and lighter, therefore, prone to flipping, driving off the road, and similar issues. While it’s not just people in light vehicles that suffer from fatal injuries, heavy truck drivers experience fewer fatalities at 18%, possibly because a truck is larger and heavier and therefore keeps you safer inside during a crash.


7. Around 510 heavy truck drivers/passengers are hospitalized yearly due to truck accidents and 34% have life-threatening injuries

(BITRE)

While the percentage of truck driver fatalities is lower than those for passengers in light vehicles, it’s still common for truck drivers to get hurt in accidents and experience injuries. Around 510 heavy truck drivers/passengers are hospitalized yearly due to truck accidents. Around 34% of those drivers have life-threatening injuries, which is not a small number.

Hospital room ward
Image Credit: Silas Camargo Silão, Pixabay

divider 4Current Truck Accident Statistics

8. By the end of September 2022, 194 people had died in road accidents involving heavy trucks

(BITRE)

In the statistics from 2020, there were 177 deaths in Australia caused by crashes involving trucks. This year, by the end of September 2022, 194 people had died in road accidents involving heavy trucks already. 94 of these deaths involved articulated trucks, while 102 of these deaths involved heavy rigid trucks. Some truck categories experienced an increase in the number of accidents, while others experienced a decrease, which shows that the situation is still oscillating.


9. In 2022, truck accident fatalities in Australia increased significantly

(BITRE)

The year 2022 was full of ups and downs regarding truck accident fatalities. Some of the numbers increased, while others decreased, making the Australian road safety issue still worrisome.

Here’s what truck accident fatalities experienced this year in Australia:

  • Fatalities caused by heavy trucks experienced an increase of 16.2%
  • Fatalities caused by articulated trucks experienced a decrease of 13.8%
  • Fatalities caused by heavy rigid trucks experienced an increase of 67.2%

The number of articulated truck fatalities dropped, but the number of fatalities involving heavy trucks and heavy rigid trucks keeps rising.

Car after a collision with a heavy truck
Image Credit: Juris Teivans, Shutterstock

10. In November 2022, there were 7 light truck crashes, 3 articulated truck crashes, 3 heavy truck crashes, and no heavy rigid truck crashes

(Road Safety)

November of 2022 has been okay when it comes to the number of truck accidents in Australia. In November of 2022, there were 7 light truck crashes, 3 articulated truck crashes, 3 heavy truck crashes, and no heavy rigid truck crashes. That’s a total of 13 truck-related accidents for the month of November, which is not a high number, all considered.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Truck Accidents in Australia

What Is the Main Cause of Truck Accidents in Australia?

The leading cause of truck accidents in Australia is human error. However, other equally critical causes provoke truck accidents, including:

  • Fatigue
  • Speeding
  • Failing to adjust the vehicle for the road/driving conditions
  • Alcohol and drug abuse
  • Driving recklessly

What are the Most Common Types of Truck Accidents?

All truck accidents look scary and can lead to several issues and injuries, including death. However, while some truck accidents are rare, others are more common.

Here’s a list of some of the most typical truck accidents that happen worldwide:

  • Rolling over
  • Rear-end collisions
  • Jackknife accidents
  • Head-on collisions
  • T-bone accidents
  • Wide turn accidents
  • Sideswipe accidents

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Conclusion

Truck accidents in Australia are currently lower than in the last few years, although the numbers are still concerning. The trucking industry represents a threat to its workers and other people driving light vehicles on the road. As there are over 150 deaths caused by truck accidents every year, Australia needs to find a way to lower these problems and improve its road safety.


Featured Image Credit: sezer66, Shutterstock

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