The number of large trucks involved in fatal accidents decreased 5 percent from 3,921 to 3,744 in 2014, according to new data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
In its annual “Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts” report, FMCSA found large truck fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled decreased by 6 percent from 1.43 to 1.34. However, crashes with trucks resulting in injuries increased by 21 percent from 73,000 to 88,000.
These figures do not account for crash fault in crashes involving trucks. They only measure truck-involved crashes.
Of the approximately 411,000 police-reported crashes involving trucks in 2014, 3,424 (1 percent) resulted in at least one fatality, FMCSA says, and 82,000 (20 percent) resulted in at least one non-fatal injury.
Approximately 61 percent of all fatal crashes involving trucks occurred on rural roads, and 26 percent were on rural or urban interstates.
Of the 3,697 truck drivers involved in fatal crashes, 202 (5 percent) were under the age of 25 and 216 (6 percent) were over the age of 66. At least one driver-related factor was recorded for 34 percent of truck drivers involved in fatal crashes compared to 58 percent of the passenger vehicle drivers in fatal crashes.
The American Trucking Associations said it was pleased to see truck-involved fatalities fall in 2014.
“It is a tragedy whenever there is a fatality on our highways, but the trucking industry is pleased to see that it is a tragedy that fewer and fewer Americans are experiencing,” said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves. “While the one-year decline being reported by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is positive, the long-term trend is of paramount importance, and that trend is impressive. The number of crashes involving large trucks had fallen 39% since 2004 and, while there is much more to do, that is a figure our professional drivers, our safety directors, our technicians and our safety partners in federal and state law enforcement can be proud of.”
ATA also used the new data as a platform to advocate again for speed limiters on heavy trucks.
“For 10 years, ATA has advocated for return to a national maximum speed limit of 65 miles per hour, and for mandatory use of electronic devices to limit the top speed of large trucks,” said ATA Executive Vice President of National Advocacy Dave Osiecki. “Today’s FMCSA report, coupled with recent research by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety linking rising speed limits to increased highway fatalities, underscores the need for DOT to quickly advance a rule limiting top truck speeds, and for states to re-think the setting of higher and higher speed limits.”