Data Reveals Truck Related Fatalities On Steady Declineby Jana Ritter - Published: 1/15/2016
The American Trucking Associations released its findings based on federal data analysis showing that improved safety initiatives in the trucking industry are paying off. Even though the rebounding economy has more truck drivers on the road and putting in more miles, the rate of truck-involved fatalities is declining both in the short and long term. “America’s trucking industry has invested billions to improve safety and that commitment is paying off,” stated ATA President and CEO Bill Graves.
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The ATA analyzed both “miles travelled data” from the Federal Highway Administration and “highway fatality data” from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The findings revealed that the number of miles traveled by large trucks rose to more than 279 billion, while the truck-involved fatality rate fell for the second straight year to 1.40 per 100 million miles traveled. This number has fallen 4.76 percent over the past two years, and an impressive 40.6 percent over the past decade.
There have also been numerous studies indicating that trucks are responsible for causing less than a third of all fatal car-truck crashes and the ATA says it’s a reason they’ve been supporting aggressive traffic enforcement and education programs aimed at changing the unsafe behaviors of motorists. “Our industry has worked hard, and invested in technology and training to improve highway safety not just for our drivers, but for all motorists. And while there is more work to do, it is gratifying to see those efforts paying off in safer roads for all of us,” said Dave Osiecki, ATA executive vice president.
This marked improvement in safety is certainly encouraging for the truck drivers who risk their lives on the road each day and it also comes as good news to their employers, the shippers and even third-party brokers concerned about their increased risk of liability in truck-related accidents. However, the National Transportation Safety Board released the 2016 “Most Wanted List” of safety improvements and did not carry over “Strengthen Commercial Trucking Safety” from last year’s initiatives. The NTSB is now focusing on reducing accidents caused by impaired, distracted and fatigued drivers. NTSB has even recommended lowering the legal limit on blood alcohol content to .05 to reduce deaths and injuries on highways and reminds us that drugs other than alcohol can also impair drivers, including those falling into the recreational, over-the-counter and prescription categories. “Impairment is a multi-faceted problem,” said NTSB Chairman Christopher Hart. “It will take stricter laws, better enforcement of those laws, and improved education, to get impaired drivers off our roads.