Dec 28, 2023

Recent Data Unveils a Noteworthy 14 Percent Reduction in Large-Truck Fatalities

In recent years, the vehicle safety improvements of large trucks on our roads has been a growing concern for truck companies, transportation company, government agencies and the public. The sheer sample size and weight of these vehicles pose a significant risk of crash imminent to other motorists, and any reduction in their fatalities is a step in the right direction.

Therefore, it is with great excitement that we present the latest data revealing a noteworthy 14% reduction in large-truck fatalities. This significant decrease in the number of fatalities is a result of various efforts and initiatives taken by federal and state agencies, as well as the trucking industry itself.

While these numbers are encouraging, it is important to understand the factors that have led to this decline and the ongoing measures that need to be implemented to ensure the highway safety of our roads.

In this article, we will delve into the details of this latest data and examine the implications it has for the trucking industry and society as a whole.

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A Significant Decline

WASHINGTON, DC — According to recent preliminary data released by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there has been a significant decline in injuries and fatalities resulting from large-truck crashes. This is a promising development as the agency works towards establishing new regulations aimed at accident analysis & prevention and crash avoidance such accidents and minimizing their substantial impact and safety impact.

The statistics from FMCSA's Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS) reveal a 14.4% decrease in fatalities caused by fatal crashes involving large trucks weighing over 10,000 pounds. Specifically, the number of fatalities dropped from 1,175 in the first quarter of 2022 to 1,006 in the same period of 2023, falling below the 10-year trend.

Furthermore, the data shows a 1.4% reduction in injuries resulting from these motor vehicle crashes, with an overall decrease of 5.2% in large-truck crashes during the same time frame.

Fatalities Increased

In contrast, when comparing the first quarters of 2021 and 2022, the statistics indicated an opposite trend. Fatalities increased by 23.8%, injuries rose by 1.7%, and there was a 4.9% increase in crashes involving large trucks.

These findings suggest a positive improvement in road conditions safety within the trucking industry, which has experienced a decline in safety standards regarding crashes.

An Upward Trend

However, it is important to consider the truck population when interpreting these results. The first quarter of 2022 saw an upward trend in new operating authorities approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation. This increase can serve as an indicator of heightened freight activity, as carriers sought to capitalize on high freight rates.

Overall, while the decline in large-truck crash rates injuries and fatalities is encouraging, it is crucial to continue monitoring and implementing effective measures to ensure the ongoing safety of the trucking sector.

A Decline in the Latter Half of the Year

According to data compiled by FreightWaves SONAR, new authorities experienced a decline in the latter half of the year as the economy and freight rates began to decrease. This decrease in new authorities is indicative of a slowdown in the industry.

Zach Cahalan, the executive director of the Truck Safety Coalition (TSC), an organization that advocates for truck crash victims, commented on the situation. He emphasized that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is responsible for documenting large truck fatalities and expressed the hope that their next estimates will show a decrease in these tragic accidents.

Cahalan stated that the current number of over 5,700 large truck fatalities per year is unacceptable and should not be tolerated.

While recent data from the NHTSA has shown a decline in highway fatalities for all road users, the agency has not provided specific data on large truck accidents since May 2022. At that time, they reported that crashes involving at least one large truck had reached a "crisis level" in 2021, reversing the declining trend observed in 2020.

Aims to Eliminate Injuries and Deaths

The Department of Transportation's (DOT) National Roadway Safety Strategy, unveiled in January 2022, aims to eliminate injuries and deaths resulting from large truck crashes. As part of this strategy, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is considering rulemakings to require speed limiters and automatic or sudden braking devices on heavy trucks, as well as changes in how carrier safety fitness is determined.

Cahalan highlighted the potential impact of upcoming rulemakings, such as speed limiters, in reducing the number of adverse events such as large truck fatalities. He urged the FMCSA not to delay implementing these measures.

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Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

In April, the NHTSA published an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to consider mandating side underride guards for trucks as a means of traffic injury prevention and prevent deaths in crashes involving cars and trucks. However, safety advocates criticized the agency for underestimating the benefits of implementing such a requirement.

Overall, the data suggests that new authorities in the trucking industry have been declining, and the TSC is advocating for measures to reduce large truck fatalities. The NHTSA's lack of specific data on large truck accidents raises concerns, and the DOT's National Roadway Safety Strategy and upcoming rulemakings by the FMCSA aim to address these issues.

In Conclusion

Overall, the recent data revealing a 14% reduction in large-truck fatalities is a promising development in the realm of road safety. This decrease can be attributed to various efforts made by trucking companies, characteristics of truck drivers, and government agencies to improve safe driving behavior, safety protocols and defensive driving techniques and reduce the number of accidents.

While there is still work to be done, this significant decrease is a step in the right direction and highlights the importance of continued efforts to prioritize road safety requirements or safety indicators for all. Let us continue to advocate for responsible driving days and safe driving practices in the trucking industry to see this positive trend continue in the years to come.

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