Fewer truck-related deaths on US roads in 2009

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — The long awaited 2009 truck crash stats from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration have finally been released, and they tell a good story.

The FMCSA inexplicably held onto the results longer than usual, as it considers revisions to the US hours-of-service regulations and when they were released, they were not trumpeted on the agency’s home page, prompting raised eyebrows in trucking circles. The American Trucking Associations, however, says the stats, which have now been posted on the FMCSA Web site, show fatal crashes involving large trucks fell 31% from 2007 to 2009 and crashes resulting in injury dropped 30%.

The report also shows the large truck fatal crash rate fell to one crash per 100 million miles travelled in 2009, down from 1.1 in 2008. Since 2000, the fatal crash rate for large trucks has fallen 54.5%, which is more than double the rate of decline seen by the passenger vehicle fatal crash rate.

“These safety gains are the result of many things, sensible regulation, improvements in technology, slower more fuel efficient driving, the dedication of professional drivers and safety directors as well as more effective enforcement techniques that look at all the factors involved in crashes, not just a select few,” said ATA president and CEO Bill Graves.

He also questioned why FMCSA was not more eager to share the good news about safety’s progress.

 “These results deserve to be heralded as tremendous progress and very good news for American motorists, our industry and our industry’s regulators,” Graves said. “However, FMCSA has chosen not to highlight these important results. By not celebrating this success, the agency is doing itself a disservice. These results are as much an achievement for FMCSA as they are for the nation’s trucking industry. We are at a loss on why FMCSA chose not to communicate this final data indicating great safety progress.”

The results are not posted on the FMCSA’s home page, but are instead buried here.

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