An analysis of data from the Department of Transportation done by the American Trucking Associations shows over both the long- and short-term that the rate of truck-involved fatalities is declining.
“America’s trucking industry has invested billions to improve safety and that commitment is paying off,” said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves.
According to ATA’s analysis of miles traveled data from the Federal Highway Administration and highway fatality data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the truck-involved fatality rate fell for the second straight year to 1.40 per 100 million miles traveled.
Per NHTSA, there were 3,903 truck-involved fatalities in 2014, a decline of 61 total from the previous year. At the same time, the number of miles traveled by large trucks rose to more than 279 billion. Of note, these figures only represent fatalities where a large truck was involved in the crash and do not reflect causation. Numerous studies have found that trucks are responsible for initiating less than a third of all fatal car-truck crashes, which is why ATA supports aggressive traffic enforcement and education programs aimed at changing the unsafe behaviors of all motorists.
The fatality rate dipped 2.78% from 2013 and has fallen 4.76% over the past two years. More importantly, it has fallen an impressive 40.6% over the past decade.
“The short-term decline is welcome news, but the important figure is the long-term trend,” Graves said. “Short-term changes, whether they’re increases or declines, can be blips – and just like you shouldn’t track your 401k on a daily basis, they shouldn’t be the primary lens truck safety is viewed through. The long-term trend – in this case, a more than 40% improvement – is of paramount importance.”
“Our industry has worked hard, and invested in technology and training to improve highway safety not just for our drivers, but for all motorists,” said ATA Executive Vice President for National Advocacy Dave Osiecki. “And while there is more work to do, it is gratifying to see those efforts paying off in safer roads for all of us.”