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Fatalities Involving Large Trucks Increased in 2017

by Charlotte Freed | Oct 12, 2018

A truck crash spills goods onto the road
Mortal highway crashes decreased by 673 in 2017 from 2016, except for when large trucks were involved. Rather, recent Department of Transportation statistics show that they actually increased by 9 percent. Large trucks are defined as any truck with a GVWR greater than 10,000 pounds, including commercial and non-commercial vehicles. Tractor-trailers and straight trucks are not included in this definition.

Fatalities increase by 18.7 percent in crashes involving single-unit straight trucks and by 5.8 percent in crashes involving tractor-trailer combinations. Out of 37,133 total fatalities, 4,761 involved large trucks. SUV fatalities also increased by 3 percent from 2016 to 2017.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator Ray Martinez pointed out that failing to wear a seatbelt was responsible for a quarter of occupant deaths in large truck-involved accidents. Secretary of Transportation’s Elaine Chao said that “Safety is the Department’s number-one priority,” and while the overall fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles decreased 2.5 percent last year, it is estimated that vehicle fatalities from January to June of 2018 had decreased.

NHTSA Deputy Administrator Heidi R. King highlights the dangerous actions of speeding, distracted driving, and driving under the influence of alcohol with a plea for extra attention surrounding drug-impaired driving.

You can access the NHTSA’s detailed report here.

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