Three of the primary measures of large-truck safety fell to record lows in 2006, according to figures released by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Newly released Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) vehicle mileage figures, used to determine annual crash rates, showed that the large truck-involvement rate in fatal crashes, the fatality rate and the fatal crash rate for large trucks each declined to its lowest level since the U.S. Department of Transportation began tracking large truck safety records in 1975.
“These figures illustrate the effectiveness of the trucking industry’s continuous efforts to increase safety on the nation’s highways,” said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves. “The motor carrier commitment to safety and industry outreach efforts are playing major roles in improving highway safety for all drivers.”
The 2006 fatal crash rate for large trucks stood at 1.93 fatal crashes per 100 million vehicle-miles-traveled. This breaks the previous low of 1.97 fatal crashes per 100 million vehicle-miles-traveled in 2002.
The large truck-involvement rate fell to 2.12 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, down from 2.21 a year earlier. The fatality rate declined to 2.24 per 100 million vehicle-miles-traveled, down from 2.34 in 2005. The fatal crash rate measures the number of fatal crashes involving large trucks per 100 million miles traveled. The large truck involvement rate measures the number of trucks involved in fatal crashes per 100 million miles traveled. The fatality rate measures the number of deaths in truck-involved crashes per 100 million miles traveled.
Improving safety figures are set against a backdrop of an increased number of vehicles on the nation’s roadways. According to FHWA, there were nearly 3 million more registered cars and trucks in 2006 than in 2005.
Improved safety figures underscore the trucking industry’s continual efforts to increase road safety. ATA’s overall safety agenda includes greater education on sharing the road with large trucks, increased traffic enforcement for all vehicles that operate unsafely around large trucks, the adoption of primary safety belt laws in all states, and reinstatement of a national maximum speed limit of 65 mph for all vehicles. ATA also supports limiting truck speeds at the time of manufacture.