The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently released a preview of 2019 data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, which included estimates for the first half of 2020.
A pair of companion reports, Special Report: Examination of the Traffic Safety Environment During the Second Quarter of 2020 and Drug and Alcohol Prevalence in Seriously and Fatally Injured Road Users Before and During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, were also released.
Fatalities in crashes involving at least one large truck (commercial and non-commercial trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating over 10,000 pounds) showed little change, decreasing from 5,006 in 2018 to 5,005 in 2019. Large truck occupant fatalities only slightly increased, with 890 in 2018 and 892 in 2019.
According to preliminary estimates for the first half 2020, the fatality rate increased to 1.25 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, up from 1.06 in the first half of 2019. The data was not broken out by vehicle type.
“Road safety is always our top priority, and while we are encouraged by today’s reports showing a continued decline in total fatalities in 2019 and into the first half of 2020, we are concerned by the trend since April showing an increased fatality rate,” said NHTSA Deputy Administrator James Owens. “Now, more than ever, we should be watching ourselves for safe driving practices and encouraging others to do the same.”