ARLINGTON, Va. – The US Department of Transportation announced that fatal truck crashes fell by 3.7% in 2014, something the American Trucking Association was pleased to hear.
“It is a tragedy whenever there is a fatality on our highways, but the trucking industry is pleased to see that it is a tragedy that fewer and fewer Americans are experiencing,” said ATA president and CEO Bill Graves. “While the one-year decline being reported by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is positive, the long-term trend is of paramount importance, and that trend is impressive. The number of crashes involving large trucks had fallen 39% since 2004 and, while there is much more to do, that is a figure our professional drivers, our safety directors, our technicians and our safety partners in federal and state law enforcement can be proud of.”
“Today’s announcement of a decline in truck related fatalities and crashes is significant,” added ATA chairman Pat Thomas, senior vice-president of state government affairs for UPS Inc. “It shows the continuation of the positive long-term trend, a trend made possible, in part, by our industry’s continued investment in safety tools and technologies.”
Some of the finding included in the FMCSA were:
• The injury crash rate for large trucks (0.29 per 100 million miles) continues to be roughly half the rate for passenger vehicles (0.58 per 100 million miles);
• The number of large trucks involved in fatal crashes fell 5% to 3,744 from 2013 to 2014, and is down 23.6% since 2004;
• The number of miles traveled by large trucks rose by 1.5% in 2014, which coupled with the decline in truck-involved crashes, dropped the truck-involved fatality rate to 1.40 per 100 million miles, a 2.9% decline from 2013 and a 40.1% decline since 2004.
• Speed, an issue where ATA has urged action at both the state and federal level for more than a decade, continues to be the number one driver-related factor in fatal crashes.
“For 10 years, ATA has advocated for return to a national maximum speed limit of 65 miles per hour, and for mandatory use of electronic devices to limit the top speed of large trucks,” said ATA executive vice-president of national advocacy Dave Osiecki. “Today’s FMCSA report, coupled with recent research by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety linking rising speed limits to increased highway fatalities, underscores the need for DOT to quickly advance a rule limiting top truck speeds, and for states to re-think the setting of higher and higher speed limits.”