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The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) keeps records on the number of fatal crashes involving large trucks and buses. In 2016, the most recent year for which they have data, there were 3,986 fatal crashes involving trucks. That’s almost 11 deaths involving commercial carriers every day; a number that everyone would like to see go down or away entirely. 

There is progress toward those goals. In 2015, there were 4,311 deadly accidents, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, so numbers are trending in the right direction—just not quickly enough. Carriers consistently monitoring safety and driver behavior has certainly contributed to fewer accidents; the trucking industry has fostered a growing safety culture from which everyone benefits.

So, we’ve compiled 10 stats to remind everyone of our responsibility to others and ourselves while on the road.

According to the IIHS:  

  1. In 2016, there were 37,461 U.S. road fatalities. 11.5 percent of those involved trucks.
     
  2. The number of people who died in large truck crashes in 2016 rose 27 percent from 2009 (the lowest recorded year since IIHS began the collection of fatal crash data in 1975).
     
  3. 97 percent of vehicle occupants killed in two-vehicle crashes involving a passenger vehicle and a large truck in 2016 were occupants of the passenger vehicle. 
     
  4. Tractor-trailer trucks have more deaths by truck type than other vehicles. 2,920 vs. 826 deaths involving single unit trucks.

Driver types and their behavior are a contributing factor in safety statistics. Older and younger, speeding or distracted – these factors and more contribute to safety statistics which, as an industry, we can work to improve.

  1. Truckers who failed to log, update, or provide accurate information regarding their record of duty status led to 326,818 driver violations during 2015 roadside inspections. 
     
  2. There were also 136,585 hours-of-service violations, where drivers violated their time limits.
     
  3. Of the 3,996 drivers of large trucks involved in fatal crashes in 2015, 10 percent were either 25 years of age or younger or over the age of 66.
     
  4. Eight percent (325) of the 3,996 drivers of large trucks involved in fatal crashes in 2015were not wearing a safety belt at the time of the crash, and of those, 27 percent were completely or partially ejected from the vehicle.
     
  5. In 2015, there was at least one driver-related factor recorded for 33 percent of the large truck drivers in fatal crashes. That’s actually less concerning than passenger vehicles, where 57 percent of fatal crashes had a driver-related factor.
     
  6. “Speeding of Any Kind” was the most common driver-related factor for both types of drivers, while “Distraction/Inattention” was the second most common for large truck drivers and “Impairment (Fatigue, Alcohol, Illness, etc.)” was second for passenger vehicle drivers.

To keep the numbers moving in the right direction, it’s incumbent on everyone to work towards zero accidents by continually contributing to a culture that takes safety seriously. Periodically diving into the stats provides the big picture we need to identify where the industry’s weak points are, and put horsepower there to prevent accidents.

Trucking is what keeps the American economy moving, with over 70 percent of all the freight tonnage moved in the U.S. transported that way. That equates to a lot of vehicles on the road – all the more reason safety should be top of mind for all involved in driving or managing trucks.

Check out Teletrac Navman’s truck safety solutions here

The data above was sourced from:

IIHC: Large Truck Fatality Facts

The 2016 FMCSA 2016 Pocket Guide to Large Truck and Bus Statistics  

FMCSA Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts 2015

Oswaldo Flores is a Safety & Compliance Product Manager at Teletrac Navman.

As a former fleet supervisor, Oswaldo has first-hand experience managing drivers and vehicles, ensuring his fleet maintains adherence to all internal and external regulations, policies, and guidelines, including DOT compliance, ANSI/OSHA certifications, and CHP Biennial Inspection of Terminals. Prior to his current position at Teletrac Navman, Oswaldo held fleet and compliance administrative management, fleet supervisory,  sales and business development roles with Pepsi Cola, Time Warner Cable, British Petroleum North America and Legacy Supply Chain Services.