Truck fatalities rose in 2017 while total number of highway deaths number fell

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Updated Feb 14, 2019
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System shows an increase in large truck fatalities in 2017 when compared to 2016.The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System shows an increase in large truck fatalities in 2017 when compared to 2016.

The number of fatalities in 2017 involving large trucks increased by 9 percent compared to 2016, while the total number of vehicle traffic fatalities dropped by 1.8 percent in the same time period, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The total number of people killed in traffic crashes in 2017 was 37,133, down from 37,806 in 2016. The total number of people killed in crashes involving large trucks – defined in this report as those with a gross vehicle weight rating greater than 10,000 pounds – in 2017 was 4,761, an increase of 392 fatalities year-over-year.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Administrator Ray Martinez said in a conference call Wednesday that many of those fatalities involved trucks less than 26,000 pounds that may or may not be regulated by FMCSA. He added that the number of fatalities involving trucks weighing between 10,000 and 14,000 pounds doubled year-over-year.

In multi-vehicle crashes involving large trucks, there were 280 more fatalities in 2017 than in 2016, an 8.8 percent increase. The number of large truck occupants killed in crashes, both single- and multi-vehicle, increased by 116 year-over-year, a 16 percent jump.

Fatalities in all other segments decreased in 2017 when compared to 2016. Passenger vehicle fatalities were down 1.4 percent, motorcycle fatalities were down 3.1 percent, pedestrian fatalities were down 1.7 percent and cyclist fatalities dropped by 8.1 percent.

Additionally, speeding-related fatalities declined by 5.6 percent from 2016 to 2017. The number of fatalities in distracted driving-related crashes was 3,166, or 8.5 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2017.