Figures released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicate that the truck-involved fatality rate in 2008 declined 12 percent, dropping from 4,822 in 2007 to 4,229.
“This achievement is great for all highway users,” said Bill Graves, President and CEO of the American Trucking Associations (ATA). “We must build upon this and look toward long-term improvements. The trucking industry remains committed to safety and ATA will continue to advance its aggressive safety agenda in an effort to further this outstanding trend.”
In addition to a 12 percent reduction in crash fatalities involving large trucks, the number of truck occupant deaths decreased 16 percent in 2008, from 805 in 2007 to 677. The overall number of people killed in motor vehicle crashes in the United States decreased 9.7 percent from 41,259 in 2007 to 37,261 in 2008, the lowest level since 1961.
Programs dedicated to increasing the use of safety belts, coupled with new hours-of-service regulations, which took effect in 2005, have greatly improved highway safety. The truck-involved fatality rate is now at its lowest since the U.S. Department of Transportation began keeping those statistics in 1975.
ATA’s 18-point safety agenda will further reduce the number of highway-related fatalities and injuries for all drivers on the nation's highways. ATA’s policies include promoting greater safety belt use by commercial drivers; re-instituting a national maximum speed limit; improved truck crashworthiness standards; speed governing of all trucks; tax incentives for safety technologies; and a decade-long initiative to create a national clearinghouse for drug and alcohol test results.