Truck-related traffic deaths down 20 percent

Updated Sep 15, 2010

Trucks On HighwayCrash data recently released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 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 and also shows a 33 percent decrease in fatalities since the improved hours-of-service regulations first became effective in January 2004.

With the assistance of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration through improved hours-of-service regulations that were first implemented in 2004, the trucking industry has seen dramatic drops in crash-related fatalities and injuries, and remarkably improved crash rates.

“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,” American Trucking Associations (ATA) President and CEO Bill Graves said.

In addition to the 20 percent reduction in crash fatalities involving large trucks, 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. Those are the largest declines among all vehicle categories.

The overall number of people killed in motor vehicle crashes in the United States decreased 9.7 percent from 37,423 in 2008 to 33,808 in 2009, the lowest level since 1950. That record-breaking decline in traffic fatalities is especially remarkable because preliminary estimates show vehicle miles traveled in 2009 increased by 0.2 percent from 2008.

To see the NHTSA’s full report on 2009 motor vehicle crash data, click here.