WASHINGTON, D.C. — The number of US highway fatalities involving heavy trucks decreased again last year, according to the latest stats collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The number of traffic fatalities involving large trucks decreased 4.4% in 2007 when compared to 2006. At 4,808 fatalities, it’s the lowest level since 1992.
Truck occupant fatalities decreased 0.4% and fatalities among occupants of other vehicles involved in a crash with a large truck dropped 5.2%. Truck-related fatalities involving people not in a vehicle (such as pedestrians) decreased 4.7%.
The American Trucking Associations (ATA) credits a number of factors for the improvement, including a tendency among carriers to drive slower to save fuel. It also feels new safety technologies played a role in the reduction, such as collision avoidance systems, lane departure warning systems, stability systems and brake stroke monitoring systems. The ATA also noted the recent improvements occurred under the current hours-of-service regime, which has been criticized by special interest groups outside the trucking industry.
“The statistics from this most recent study show that the efforts of law enforcement agencies to focus on the most likely causes of crashes, such as speeding and impaired driving, are making our highways safer,” said ATA president and CEO, Bill Graves. “While we are pleased that overall fatalities have decreased, we still have room to improve safe driving habits of truck drivers and passenger vehicle drivers.”
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