In 2021, fatalities in crashes involving at least one large truck were up 13% compared to 2020, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s latest traffic fatalities estimates report.
Traffic fatalities overall for the year show an increase of about 10.5% compared to reported fatalities in 2020.
The report shows that fatalities in crashes involving large trucks — characterized by NHTSA as both commercial and non-commercial trucks with a gross vehicle weight greater than 10,000 pounds — increased from April to July and November to December.
There were 5,601 fatalities involving at least one large truck in 2021, compared to 4,965 fatalities in 2020. Decreases in fatalities compared to the previous year’s report were recorded in just three months of the year: January (12% versus 14% in 2020), February (13% versus 14%), and October (12% versus 14%). All other months recorded fatalities increased, or the percent of fatalities stayed the same (March at 12%, and August and September both at 13%).
In overall fatality numbers, NHTSA projects that an estimated 42,915 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes last year, a 10.5% increase from the 38,824 fatalities in 2020. The projection is the highest number of fatalities since 2005 and the largest annual percentage increase in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System’s history.
However, NHTSA also reported that the estimated rate per 100 million vehicle-miles traveled for 2021 was 1.33 per 100 million VMT, marginally down from the reported 1.34 fatalities per 100 million VMT in 2020.