Truck fatalities increase in 2004

The number of persons killed in 2004 in US truck accidents increased 3.1 percent from the year before, according to early results from a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The number of people killed in truck accidents in 2004 totaled 5,190, an increase of 154 from the year before when 5,036 people died in accidents.

The report also shows that the number of persons killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes declined from 2003.

With an expected increase in vehicle miles traveled (VMT), the fatality rate per 100 million VMT will be 1.46, the lowest recorded by the Department of Transportation. Early results also show a decline in pedestrian fatalities and in fatalities in all passenger vehicles combined. By vehicle type, occupant fatalities increased in sport utility vehicles.

Motorcycle rider fatalities increased for the seventh year in a row, exceeding 4,000 fatalities for the first year since 1987.

Fatalities in alcohol-related crashes decreased for a second year, declining by 2.4 percent, falling below 17,000 fatalities for the first time in five years.

Fatalities declined by 1.8 percent in crashes where the highest blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was 0.08 grams per deciliter (g/dl) or greater.

Fatalities of unrestrained passenger vehicle occupants declined by 3.4 percent, reflecting the increasing use of safety belts and contributing to the overall reduction in passenger vehicle occupant fatalities.

Increases were found in the number of passenger vehicle occupants killed when their vehicle rolled over (1.1 percent).

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