NHTSA report shows truck-crash fatalities increased in 2017

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WASHINGTON — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Wednesday that people killed in crashes involving “large” trucks increased 9 percent in 2017 over 2016.

However, that is somewhat misleading to followers of the trucking industry because NHTSA defines “large” trucks as a medium-duty or heavy truck, excluding buses and motor homes, with a gross vehicle weight rating greater than 10,000 pounds, including both commercial and noncommercial vehicles.

The information provided by NHTSA was released as part of the “2017 Fatal Motor Vehicle Crashes: Overview” during a media teleconference.

Information in the overview came from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), which is a census of fatal crashes in the 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, the latter of which was not included in the U.S. totals.

NTHSA also uses the term “heavy” trucks, which includes trucks 26,001 pounds or more.

Such vehicles must obtain USDOT/Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration authority and comply with FMCSA regulations.

Trucks between 10,000 GVWR and 25,999 GVWR that are involved in interstate commerce would also have to obtain USDOT/FMCSA authority.

Although it was part of the report, NHTSA did not release data for “heavy” trucks, but other information provided Wednesday showed the number of trucks with a GVWR of 10,000-14,000 pounds involved in fatal crashes doubled from 2016 to 2017.

The overview released Wednesday showed 4,761 people died in large-truck crashes in 2017 compared with 4,369 in 2016.

NHTSA reported that overall 37,133 motor vehicle traffic fatalities were reported in the U.S. in 2017, down by 673 from the 37,806 traffic fatalities in 2016.

The 1.8 percent decrease from 2016 to 2017 compared to the 6.5 percent increase from 2015 to 2016 and the 8.4 percent increase from 2014 to 2015.

The fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT) decreased by 2.5 percent from 1.19 in 2016 to 1.16 in 2017, based on rates provided by the Federal Highway Administration.

Other data involving “large” truck crashes included:

  • Occupants of other vehicles had 280 more fatalities, an 8.8 percent increase from 2016.
  • There were 776 more large-truck occupant fatalities on 2017 over 2016, a 28.5 percent increase.
  • Large-truck occupant fatalities in single-vehicle crashes were up by 40, an 8.7 percent increase from 2016.

NHTSA also released data Wednesday that showed an estimated 17,210 people died in motor vehicle crashes the first half of 2018, a decrease of 3.1 percent compared to the 17,664 fatalities that were reported to have occurred in the first half of 2017.

The Trucker News Staff

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The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.
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I drive a heavy wrecker and the idiots I pick up for stupid things is on the rise. Mega carriers are churning out these idiots faster than they can wreck all the equipment. Majority of the drivers I deal with can’t even speak English. Stupidity is how I make my living, but the fatality’s are on the rise. Rant over

I’m curious to see what the other statistics are. Race, sex, and age. I think that we would not be surprised by some of those stats. By all means though, keep making it more and more unattractive to the drivers who have been doing it for 30+ years. The death tolls will increase I believe.

I’m sure there are probably several factors involved, but the major problem is letting people that don’t know anything about operating a truck, but THINK they do, make the rules. The 14-hr rule is the biggest problem, followed by the 30 minute break rule. It is totally asinine to not allow a person to extend their day by stopping when they want to.

ELDS racing the clock that’s all you do from the time you log in until you stop. Ive been driving for almost 30 years and its worse now than it ever was. A lot of inexperience on the rd plus elds drivers racing to get from one place to another or trying to find a place to park . The elds have made my job a lot harder ever thing you do now effects your day the hos rules need to be redone but that will never happen to many idiots in charge of that it will only get worse.

I think the best thing they could do to reduce all this problem is getting rid of all the hours of service as we know it, such as the 34-hour reset the 10-hour continuous break and the half an hour break and make it so you can take your 10 hours in any time limit you want as long as it’s within a 24 hour day. You got so many people cramming into truck stops and trying to race to get there that it’s just nuts and stupid and absolutely uncomfortable for a driver. Now that ELD”s are in just about every truck D.O.T. should be able to easily track our 10-hour breaks no matter what way we take them whether it’s 3 hours here or 3 hours there as long as you get the 10 hours in a 24 hour period. It’s just going to help cut down on the fatigue of a driver, the insane rush to get parked, the over health of the driver and safety of every one on the road.

There are other factors as stated in other comments that contribute to the upswing of accidents but I think the hour of service BS is a big factor but also the reason a lot of older guys don’t drive anymore and you have now ended up with so many young and inexperienced drivers. The laws of unintended consequences is always discovered after the fact, something to think about.

What I would like to know is how many of those crashes were day cabs flying through traffick like they’re in a Ferrari and under the 100 air miles radius so they don’t have to run under the HOS and they’re companies are requiring them to do 14 to 16 pick ups and deliveries a day. I also think that the HOS for us long haul drivers is in desperate need of updating like the ability to extend your 14 hr clock by logging off duty and changing the requirements for the 30 minute break to allow a driver to split it. I do find it ironic that the increase in accident fatalities seems to coincide with the implementation of the ELD requirement but I have run with and without ELD throughout my carrier as a driver. I spent 2 years as n instructor at a steering wheel holder school and know first hand that they are not much more than a meat grinder. Although I did see some real prospective drivers go through the program. The school did contract training for a specific company and was under pressure to turn out the “drivers” . The real problem in my humble opinion is the lack of education of the general motoring public. Most 4 wheelers are clueless as to how to drive around a big truck. They hang out in your blind spot follow to closely cut in too quickly and do all they can to keep you from getting over when necessary. They expect you to move when you cant so they can merge in front of you and in general drive recklessly and without any regard to safety.

As usual they bury the part where it says that this report includes ANY truck over 10000 lbs commercial or NON COMMERCIAL…keep making it look like the PROFESSIONAL trucker is the bad guy !!!!!! Most people will not read the whole article and the choice of picture just adds to the same lie !!!!!!

WOW where do i start ? I’m gonna go with follow the money. I believe the autonomous truck’s will be pushed and pushed hard ,the sooner they push us older drivers out with the e log and government overreach the sooner they can hire 18 year old drivers. If companies are paying a driver 70 to 80,000 a year that is a cost of 210,000 to 240,000 every 3 years. We cost more than the equipment so they cry driver shortage to get a start on the autonomous trucks and they are pushing to get 18 year old drivers in a truck they don’t have to drive and that will bring the driver wages down. Without a college education you are lucky if you can make 40,000.00 a year depending on where you live it may be more or could be less . That being said that is 30 to 40 grand less for each driver. That is a huge savings to the mega carriers that are destroying our industry. That’s my 2 cents i guess we will find out soon enough. By the way there is not a driver shortage and there never has been, the only shortage the carriers have is a money shortage, pay more and they can hire more if they ever quit cutting each other’s throat the mess would be over.

Every Truck Going the Same speed Nobody can get out of their “own way” And Passenger Vehicles Will not move over. All these things contribute to accidents. Let My truck go free , Governed at 65 mph sucks.