Big Rig Crashes in Texas in 2023 [Interactive Map]

There were more than 31,000 crashes involving commercial trucks in Texas last year, according to data from the Texas Department of Transportation — one every 17 minutes.

Big rig crashes happen every day of the week, and at all hours of the day. To make sense of it all, we partnered with 1Point21 Interactive to analyze the full set of truck crashes and identify where and when they are most common.

Use the interactive map below to explore information about each individual crash, then keep reading for analysis of the broader trends.

Interactive map of 31,150 crashes involving big rigs in Texas in 2023, each plotted by location. Circle size represents the number of vehicles involved in the crash.

Big rig crashes are more likely to be fatal than other crashes, but still not very likely.

According to the TxDOT data, 461 of the 31,150 crashes involving commercial trucks ended in fatal injury, a rate of just under 1.5%.

While that indicates that you’re still quite likely to survive an accident involving a big rig, that is more than twice the fatality rate of all motor vehicle crashes nationwide.

Houston is the state’s main location for truck crashes — but you’ll find them on any and every interstate highway.

The data shows that nearly 4,300 of the big rig crashes in 2023 happened in Harris County, at least 50% more than any other individual county, followed by Dallas, Bexar, Tarrant and Webb counties.

The main cities in each of those counties — Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Fort Worth and Laredo — also top the list of cities with the most crashes. Meanwhile, Briscoe, Dickens, Foard, Jim Hogg and Kent counties round up the bottom of the list with just one crash each.

Top 10 Counties Crashes Top 10 Cities Crashes
1) Harris 4,297 1) Houston 2,419
2) Dallas 2,860 2) Dallas 1,652
3) Bexar 1,869 3) San Antonio 1,507
4) Tarrant 1,482 4) Fort Worth 945
5) Webb 960 5) Laredo 859
6) El Paso 895 6) El Paso 681
7) Hidalgo 761 7) Beaumont 258
8) Denton 708 8) Irving 236
9) Montgomery 496 9) Austin 230
10) Collin 484 10) Denton 204

One of the reasons that the Houston and Dallas areas top the list is that both are hubs of the U.S. interstate highway system. Each has three major interstates and a related loop running in or around their central cities — I-10, I-45, I-69 and I-610 for Houston; I-20, I-35, I-45 and I-635 for Dallas — and, unsurprisingly, interstates are the primary routes for commercial truck driving.

In fact, 7 of the top 10 are interstate roads, along with three U.S. highways:

Rank Highway Crashes
#1 Interstate 35 (includes I-35E and I-35W sections in Dallas area) 2,961
#2 Interstate 10 2,413
#3 Interstate 20 1,756
#4 Interstate 45 1,052
#5 Interstate 30 925
#6 U.S. Highway 59 598
#7 Interstate 610 476
#8 U.S. Highway 287 328
#9 U.S. Highway 290 319
#10 Interstate 635 318

Late-night big rig crashes do happen, but midday on weekdays is peak time.

Certain characteristics tend to place car crashes in specific time windows. For example, crashes involving drunk drivers are most common late at night on Fridays and Saturdays, especially when the drivers are younger.

Crashes involving trucks are no different. The peak window of time is the hours from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on weekdays (there is more variance on Saturday and Sunday, when only 13% of total crashes happen).

Very few truck crashes are caused by alcohol, drugs or mobile phones, especially when compared to crashes involving non-commercial vehicles.

In a dataset of 31,150 truck crashes, only eight truck drivers were flagged as being under the influence of drugs, with another 33 listed as being impaired by alcohol. Those figures boil down to rates of 0.03% and 0.11%; non-commercial drivers got into accidents while under the influence of drugs more than 8 times as often (0.25%) and while drunk 21 times as frequently (2.31%).

Non-commercial drivers were also several times more likely to have been distracted at the time of their crashes, even more so when looking at distractions related to cell phones or other mobile devices.

Fatigue is one of the most commonly discussed potential causes of crashes for truck drivers, who often work punishing schedules — particularly if they are hauling freights long distances — but the Texas data shows that non-commercial drivers are still almost twice as likely to be fatigued or asleep at the wheel when they get in crashes than truck drivers are.

The most common causes of truck crashes, according to the data, are unsafe lane changes, speeding, and drifting between lanes.

The most common truck makes involved in Texas crashes closely mirror the list of top-selling brands.

Even though it has lost some of its market share in recent years, Freightliner still sits alone atop the U.S. truck market, with between 35% and 40% of all sales. The next tier of top sellers includes Peterbilt, Kenworth, Mack, International Trucks, and Volvo.

So it should come as no surprise that those makes are at the top of the list when it comes to commercial truck crashes. Freightliner had nearly twice as many as any other brand on the list, and the brands mentioned above were the only other makes with at least 1,000 accidents in 2023.

Data sources and methodology

Data in this analysis comes from the Texas Department of Transportation. We downloaded records from 31,150 crashes involving commercial trucks in 2023 and analyzed them for information regarding the location, time of day, and severity of the crashes.

Feel free to use the information from this analysis elsewhere, but if you do, please link back to this page and credit The Doan Law Firm for attribution purposes.

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