2019 Reaches Highest Level of Trucking Fatalities in 30 Years
Trucker deaths and accidents are at their highest level in over 30 years, and they continue to rise.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a total of 885 large truck passengers and drivers died in 2018. Unfortunately, another 4,678 people died in large truck accidents in the same year.
ATA Responds to Rising Truck Accident Statistics
The American Trucking Association (ASA) stated that the statistics mentioned above “provide an incomplete picture of the safety of our highways,” and that they do not account for how many cars and miles were driven that year.
ATA also asked for the government to launch a new study that examines the causes of truck crashes to update the 2006 study. They claimed that this new study showed that other drivers caused most large truck crashes, not truck drivers.
Despite the ATA’s claims, crash fatalities involving large trucks counter highway safety improvement in recent years.
Overall Fatalities Decline
During 2018, car accidents killed 36,560 Americans, which is a 2.4 percent decline from car accident deaths in 2017 and 2016. Almost every other accident category except for pedestrians, cyclists, and truckers had fewer deaths in the last year, according to the NHTSA:
- Car passenger fatalities- 5.2% decrease
- SUV passenger fatalities- 1.6% decrease
- Motorcyclist fatalities- 4.7% decrease
- Impaired driving fatalities- 3.6% decrease
- Speeding fatalities- 5.7% decrease
Even though people are driving more, car accident injuries and deaths are steadily decreasing in the United States. Elaine L. Chao, the US transportation secretary, says, “This is encouraging, but too many perished or were injured, and nearly all crashes are preventable, so more work remains to be done to make America’s roads safer.”
Chao’s department also added that more than 90 percent of car crashes occur from human error.
Increased Safety Features
Car companies are now making cars with new safety features like forward collision alerts, rear-view cameras, blind-spot alerts, and automatic emergency braking. According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, these features have proven to reduce certain types of accidents by 50 percent. However, large trucks are only beginning to get these features.
“We’re pleased to see the overall traffic crash figures on public roads decrease, but we remain concerned about the increases in truck deaths,” states Jason Levine from the Center for Auto Safety. Levine suggested that safety officials perform more studies about why deaths are rising in truck accidents, pedestrian accidents, and cyclist accidents.
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