DOT: Truck-involved fatalities ticked up in 2018 while overall highway deaths fell

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The total number of deaths in crashes involving large trucks increased slightly from 2017 to 2018, according to numbers released Tuesday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.The total number of deaths in crashes involving large trucks increased slightly from 2017 to 2018, according to numbers released Tuesday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The number of fatalities in crashes involving large trucks increased slightly in 2018 from 2017 with 46 more fatalities in 2018 than the previous year, according to numbers released Tuesday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

NHTSA defines a large truck as vehicles with gross vehicle weight ratings above 10,000 pounds, so medium- and heavy-duty pickups, as well as commercial trucks, are included in the statistics.

According to NHTSA, there were 4,951 people killed in crashes involving large trucks, up from 4,905 in 2017 (a 0.9% increase). There were 885 large truck occupants killed in crashes, along with 4,066 occupants of other vehicles and non-occupants (pedestrians and cyclists).

The agency notes that fatalities overall decreased from 2017 to 2018 in all segments except crashes involving large trucks and non-occupants.

Overall, there were 36,560 people killed on U.S. highways in 2018, a 2.4% decrease from 2017 representing a drop of 913 fatalities year-over-year. These numbers decreased despite a slight increase (0.3%) in vehicle miles traveled in the same time period.

Every month saw decreases in fatalities from 2017 to 2018 except May, June, August and October. August saw the largest increase of 2.3%, according to NHTSA’s numbers.

Additionally, NHTSA reports that 32 states had reductions in fatality numbers year-over-year, led by California, which saw 321 fewer fatalities. The other 18 states and Puerto Rico had increases in fatality numbers, led by Oregon, which had 67 more than the previous year.

In addition to the 2018 numbers, NHTSA also released initial estimates for the first half of 2019, which suggest that the trend of decreasing fatalities may continue. The estimated number of fatalities for 2019’s first six months is down 3.4% from the same period in 2018.

The full report on 2018 fatal crashes can be found here.