Safety & Compliance

New Report Shows Fatal Crashes Involving Trucks Up from a Year Earlier

October 31, 2013

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Newly released figures from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration show an increase in the number of large trucks involved in fatal crashes over the past year, but there are improvements when compared to longer time periods.

In 2011, the most recent year figures are available, 3,608 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes, a 3% increase from 2010. However, from 2008 through 2011, the number of large trucks involved in fatal crashes declined by 12%, while the number of passenger vehicles involved in fatal crashes fell by 13%.

Numbers for trucking have greatly improved over the past decade, but there were also some encouraging signs over the relatively short term.

From 2008 through 2011, the number of large trucks involved in fatal crashes declined by 12%, from 4,089 to 3,608, and the vehicle involvement rate for large trucks in fatal crashes (vehicles involved in fatal crashes per 100 million miles traveled by large trucks) increased by 2%.

The number of large trucks involved in injury crashes dropped by 5%, from 66,000 to 63,000. The vehicle involvement rate for large trucks in injury crashes increased by 10%.

The number of large trucks involved in property-damage-only crashes decreased by 28%, from 309,000 to 221,000. The vehicle involvement rate for large trucks in property-damage-only crashes declined by 17%.

Over the past 10 years, 2001 through 2011, the number of large trucks involved in fatal crashes fell from 4,823 to 3,608, a drop of 25%.

The number of large trucks involved in injury crashes fell from 90,000 to 63,000, a drop of 30%. The number of large trucks involved in property-damage-only crashes decreased from 335,000 to 221,000, a drop of 34%.

Alcohol was detected in the blood of 2.5% of large truck drivers in fatal crashes in 2011, compared with 27.3% of passenger vehicle drivers. For 1.2% of large truck drivers in fatal crashes in 2011, the blood alcohol concentration was 0.08 grams per deciliter or more, compared with 23.7% of passenger vehicle drivers.

Large truck and bus fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled by all motor vehicles increased by 2%, from 0.133 in 2010 to 0.136 in 2011.

Of the 3,757 drivers of large trucks involved in fatal crashes, 341 or 10% were not wearing a safety belt at the time of the crash and of them nearly one-third were completely or partially ejected from the vehicle.

The full report is available on the FMCSA website.


  1. 1. Dennis A. Brown [ November 01, 2013 @ 03:41AM ]

    Involvement is NOT synonymous with causation, except for bureaucrats attempting to justify further regulations. Several years ago, the AAA discovered to their chagrin that trucks did not cause the majority of fatal accidents. One of their board members resigned because they would not bury the study. Simply regurgitating misleading pronouncements does not help the industry, especially with this regime in charge.

  2. 2. JTG [ November 01, 2013 @ 04:03AM ]

    A better study would be one that measures the amount of crashes due to added governmental regulations. As with many of the metrics that are applied, if you don't get the results you want in one year, go out a couple more until you get the number satisfies your agenda.

  3. 3. Amish Trucker [ November 01, 2013 @ 05:14AM ]

    FMCSA is throwing out the 2008-2011 numbers to justify the change in the hours of service regulations. The thing to really pay attention to is the accidents per million miles, which went up. 2008-2011 was a down economy and the reduced numbers can easily be attributed to the fact there were fewer vehicles on the roadway. I think we are going to see the axiom proven that when you legislate loss in productivity, good old American ingenuity is going to make up the difference. The mass influx of electronic logging and hos changes are tempting drivers to push the peddle a little harder to get more miles in and to avoid having to sleep in a truck 30 minutes from home. Everyone knows speed kills and Jim Morrison said it makes geese fly backwards.

  4. 4. Jonn [ November 01, 2013 @ 05:47AM ]

    The prior comments address many valid points. It should be pointed out that ABS has come into wider play through trade cycles, more companies are installing accessory mirrors on the fenders, and wider use of heated mirrors have all contributed to the reduction and severity of accidents. From the standpoint of fatal injuries one must look both at the demise of the cabover design, and the safety enhancements offered particularly by Volvo and Freightliner, Volvo's use of airbags, and most importantly the advances in accident survivability in cars, pickups, and SUV's With the trend to 70 mph in many states both the frequency and severity of crashes will trend upward. Another factor is many seasoned drivers are leaving the field, being replaced by drivers with less experience. A higher percentage of those have, for the sake of discussion, virtually no experience, add to that the lack of the workforce's commitment to safety when you consider the driver turnover rates.

    In my case, before I quit driving in 2004, the "new" HOS regs in that era encouraged me to be a less safe driver in order to comply with the 14 hr rule. I pretty much ran short haul, and spent as much or more time on Line 4 as Line 3. Often times it would be a 15 hour day, by the time I stopped for 2 meals, and took a nap somewhere. After the new rules I would grab a Speedway hot dog and eat it while driving, not take a break during the day, and hurry with my loading and pumping off taking chances for a spill, and drive more aggressively in order to to get back before the clock died at 14th hour. then I get a good night's sleep and have to twiddle my thumbs for 2hours before I could go back to work due to the ten hour rule. (Bus drivers only need 8 hrs off to be rested)!

  5. 5. McGruff [ November 01, 2013 @ 05:51AM ]

    Simply put: How many of these large truck and bus involved accidents were caused by the drivers of the other vehicle (usually described as 4 wheelers) ??

  6. 6. Ronda [ November 01, 2013 @ 12:35PM ]

    When there is a big truck that has an accident it's always the trucks fault even if they were stopped & another vehicle ran into the truck. They still count those accidents in those numbers which is not right due to the fact that it wasn't the trucks fault.
    For instance yrs ago my ex-husband was going down the interstate & this van was making a u-turn on the interstate & he swerved to miss the 4 wheeler ended up hitting them & come to find out they were over the limit for alcohol, but anyways his the one that they blamed the big truck

  7. 7. Peter D. Ohmart [ November 01, 2013 @ 09:33PM ]

    As Dennis said, your facts did not show all the important facts. The one I am referring to is causation. Let us face it, all of your statistics show how something did or did not increase or decrease. It would be nice to see how many drivers were actually at fault!!!

    In the early 2000's, I believe ABC Nightline stated that 85% of all wrecks between large trucks and passenger cars were caused by passenger cars.

    I would like to see these results. This actually shows how drivers are doing. There are so many flaws in this new CSA system, the insurance companies, and how companies are dealing with it, it does not surprise me there is a huge shortage of seasoned and qualified drivers!

    Please provide two things for me: 1) your sources of the statistics, 2) What is the statistic for causation between large trucks & passenger cars.

    Thank you and have a nice day.

  8. 8. Lee [ November 23, 2013 @ 10:07PM ]

    D Brown, change your name to "Common Sense"...and Jonn, If you were still driving with the July 1, 2013 mandate, you would go without that hotdog for 14 hours.....most probably with EOBC you would be taking that 30 min break where there was no food or restroom facilities! What gets lost is the fact that we the driver still have a job to do delivering something and doing it on time when the customer wants or needs....We HAVE to find a way around the 1-5, 168 hour, 30 min forced break to achieve this...result: we are less rested, more aggravated, drive more aggressively and forced to do this because we have to comply with something that was unnecessary and forced on the industry by arrogant people sitting behind a desk looking for something to justify their existence


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