Truck-involved fatalities down 20%
Industry cites hours rules for improved statistics
Updated 2009 fatality and injury data from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) released last month showed 3,380 truck-involved traffic fatalities in 2009, a 20 percent decline from the 4,245 fatalities posted in 2008. The reduction is the lowest level in recorded Department of Transportation history (DOT began collecting traffic fatality data in 1975) and also shows a 33 percent decrease in fatalities since the improved hours-of-service regulations from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration went into effect in January 2004.
“Greater rest opportunities for drivers under the 2004 hours-of-service rules and a more circadian-friendly approach to a driver’s work-rest cycle have helped truck drivers achieve these exceptional results,” says Bill Graves, American Trucking Associations president and chief executive officer.
In addition, the number of truck occupant deaths decreased 26 percent in 2009, from 682 in 2008 to 503 in 2009. The number of truck occupants injured in truck-related crashes also declined 26 percent.
“This significant gain in commercial truck safety shows that ongoing enforcement efforts and our partnerships with state and local law enforcement are making a difference,” says FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro.
Overall highway deaths fell to 33,808 for the year – the lowest mark in 60 years – even though estimated vehicle miles traveled increased slightly from 2008. In addition, 2009 saw the lowest fatality and injury rates ever recorded: 1.13 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 2009, compared to 1.26 deaths for 2008. Alcohol-impaired driving fatalities declined 7.4 percent in 2009 – 10,839 compared to 11,711 reported in 2008.
“The numbers reflect the tangible benefits of record seatbelt use and strong anti-drunk driving enforcement campaigns,” says NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. “We will continue to work with our state partners to strictly enforce both seatbelt use and anti-drunk driving laws across this nation, every day and every night.”
To see NHTSA’s full report on 2009 motor vehicle crash data, go to
www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811363.pdf. – Jeff Crissey
* The Pennsylvania State Police placed 198 trucks and 34 drivers out of service and issued 643 traffic citations and 1,502 written warnings during a one-day enforcement effort that focused on commercial vehicles traveling on rural roads and noninterstate highways. Enforcement teams inspected 1,263 commercial vehicles during the detail.
* The U.S. Department of Transportation in late August issued a final rulemaking banning text messaging while operating a commercial vehicle.
* The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has made available “CSA 2010: Just the Facts,” a two-page document intended to dispel myths and misconceptions surrounding Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010. To view, go to http://www.csa2010.fmcsa.dot.gov.
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