ARLINGTON, Va. (Sept. 13, 2010) — The number of truck-involved traffic fatalities declined 20 percent last year to the lowest level in recorded Department of Transportation (DOT) history.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) put the number of truck-involved traffic fatalities in 2009 at 3,380—down from the 4,245 reported in 2008. The reduction also shows a 33-percent decrease in fatalities since the government-mandated improved hours-of-service regulations first became effective in January 2004, according to the agency.
“These latest figures illustrate the trucking industry's deep commitment to improving highway safety,” American Trucking Associations (ATA) President and CEO Bill Graves said in a press release. “ATA will continue to advance its progressive safety agenda in an effort to further this outstanding trend.”
With the assistance of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration through the improved hours-of-service regulations, the trucking industry has seen dramatic drops in crash-related fatalities and injuries, along with improved crash rates, ATA said. “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,” Mr. Graves said.
In addition to the reduction in crash fatalities involving large trucks last year, the number of truck occupant deaths decreased 26 percent in 2009—from 682 in 2008 to 503 in 2009, NHTSA reported. The number of truck occupants injured in truck-related crashes also declined 26 percent—the largest declines among all vehicle categories.
The overall number of people killed in motor vehicle crashes in the U.S. last year decreased 9.7 percent, from 37,423 in 2008 to 33,808 in 2009, the lowest level since 1950, according to NHTSA, despite vehicle miles traveled increasing in 2009 by 0.2 percent from the previous year.