The American Trucking Assns. says recent federal accident statistics show the 1990's as the industry's safest decade ever.
The ATA said the large truck fatal crash rate dropped 34% over the past ten years to an all-time low. The new rate is 2.3 fatal crashes per 100 million miles traveled. The rate of large trucks involved in injury and property damage accidents dropped 35% and 25%, respectively.
"Our responsible motor carriers and their professional truck drivers take highway safety seriously," said ATA president Walter McCormick. "They deserve credit for making the significant safety improvements that have produced this record."
Increased roadside inspections--specifically targeting below-standard trucks--has resulted in a 46% drop in the number of trucks put out of service for safety defects over the last 10 years.
Drug use among truck drivers is also at an all time low. The latest random drug testing of drivers produced less than 1.5% positive results.
ATA also credits outreach efforts as having a role in improving safety. To counteract the results of a University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute study indicating that 68 to 70% of crashes between cars and large trucks are the result of an error by the car driver, ATA oversees the "How-To-Drive" program which teaches motorists how to safely share the road with large trucks. This program has already reached more than 13 million households this year.