5 Years of Trucking: Facts and Figures

Periodically FMCSA makes reports including different facts and figures related to the trucking industry. Such documents contain statistics on distances and cargo weight, inspections and enforcements, crashes, etc. The last report was updated on October 29, 2020. It provides information for 2015-2019.

General Statistical Facts

During the past five years, the amount of all registered large trucks in the USA grew from 11,203,184 to 13,233,910. The miles they traveled increased from 279,843 to 304,864 miles. Speaking about transported freight, its amount rised from 521,248 to 555,567, where motor carriers that transported hazardous materials reduced from 13,274 to 11,900.

The weight of freight shipped by trucks within the USA increased from 11,257 to 11,920 (millions of tons). It means that trucks still remain the most popular way of cargo transportation, and its role continues to grow. Today, trucks carry more than 64% of all loads.

Inspections and Violations

An examination of an individual commercial motor vehicle and/or a driver conducted by an authorized safety inspector is called an inspection. It helps to find out whether all regulations are followed. If there are some violations, it can result in the issuance of vehicle or driver out-of-service orders.

The number of inspections conducted during the past five years increased from 3,382,980 to 3,453,157. The most frequent driver violations for the last year were:

  • Traffic Enforcement (speeding 6-10 miles per hour over the speed limit, failure to obey traffic control device, lane restriction violation);
  • Seat Belt (failing to use a seat belt while operating a CMV);
  • No Log/Log Not Current (record of duty status violation, false report of driver's record of duty status, ELD - no record of duty status, driver's record of duty status not current, etc.);
  • Medical Certificate (operating a property-carrying vehicle without possessing a valid medical certificate, no medical certificate in driver's possession);
  • All Other Driver Violations (operating a CMV without a CDL, using a hand-held mobile telephone while operating a CMV, portable ELD not mounted in a fixed position and visible to the driver).


Such investigations are conducted to find unknown areas of non-compliance and safety concerns, focusing on high risks. They help to improve safety on the road as well as reduce the number of crushes. For this need, the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program was created. It is the enforcement model that allows FMCSA to check more carriers.

During the past five years, the number of federal and state investigations increased from 14,607 to 13,015.


According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are three crash severity levels:

  1. Fatal crashes are police-reported crashes in which a motor carrier is involved, and at least one person died 30 days after the accident.
  2. Injury crashes mean police-reported crashes when no one died, but at least one person got injured.
  3. Property-damage-only crashes include police-reported accidents, after which nobody got injured.

For the past five years, fatal crashes that involved large trucks increased from 3,622 to 4,415 events. The number of injury crashes grew from 83,000 to 107,000. And POD accidents increased from 328,000 to 344,000.

By Denis Kirston
04 / 11 / 2020
Stop cheap freight by enforcing transparency (371.3)