Truck-involved traffic fatalities in US reach historic low

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ARLINGTON, Va. — The number of truck-involved traffic fatalities in the US declined 20% in 2009, dropping from 4,245 in 2008 to 3,380 in 2009, according to a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The reduction is the lowest level in recorded Department of Transportation history and also shows a 33% decrease in fatalities since the new Hours-of-Service regulations first became effective in January 2004.

“Greater rest opportunities for drivers under the 2004 Hours-of-Service rules and a more circadian-friendly approach to a driver’s work-rest cycle have helped truck drivers achieve these exceptional results,” said American Trucking Associations (ATA) president and CEO Bill Graves.

In addition to the 20% reduction in crash fatalities involving large trucks, the number of truck occupant deaths decreased 26% in 2009, from 682 in 2008 to 503 in 2009. The number of truck occupants injured in truck-related crashes also declined 26%. Those are the largest declines among all vehicle categories, officials said.
The overall number of people killed in motor vehicle crashes in the US decreased 9.7% from 37,423 in 2008 to 33,808 in 2009, the lowest level since 1950, despite the fact that preliminary estimates show vehicle miles traveled in 2009 increased by 0.2% from 2008.

The ATA says its 18-point safety agenda includes promoting greater safety belt use by commercial drivers, reinstituting a national maximum speed limit, improved truck crashworthiness standards, speed governing of all trucks, tax incentives for safety technologies, and a decade-long initiative to create a national clearinghouse for drug and alcohol test results.

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  • The decrease may be significant but the number of trucks on the road were also significantly less. What is the relative percentage for trucks on the road compared to other years? Any time there is a recession, there is a decrease in statistics, including truck accidents.