The trucking industry invests at least $9.5 billion in safety every year, according to a new report by the American Trucking Associations.

Driver safety training was the largest investment category, making up 36% of the total annual spending. The investments also include technologies such as collision avoidance systems, electronic logging devices and video event recorders. 

“We know this industry prioritizes and invests in improving safety on our nation’s highways,” said Dave Osiecki, ATA executive vice president of national advocacy. “With the results of this survey, we now can put a dollar figure on that investment, and that figure is significant.”

Broadly, this $9.5 billion spent annually brakes down into four major categories:

  • On-board Technology: Collision avoidance and mitigation systems, blind spot warning systems, stability control, video event recorders, electronic logging devices and other safety technologies.
  • Driver Training: Safety training, staff wages and consultants, safety retraining and coaching and hazardous materials training.
  • Safety Pay: Awards and bonuses based on improved safety performance.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Motor vehicle and driver record checks, drug and alcohol testing, voluntary safety audits, safety staff wages and benefits as well as safety consultants.

The $9.5 billion figure doesn’t include general and routine maintenance costs, according to ATA. This would cover expenses related to new brakes, tires or even trucks, which would increase the total significantly.

Looking at fatal crash rates totals and rates, the investments seem to be paying off, ATA says, as both numbers have dropped significantly in the past few decades. Fatal crashes involving large trucks have declined 32% since 1980 and the rate of those incidents has dropped by 74%, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Administration.

“Since economic deregulation in 1980, we have seen marked declines in truck-involved crashes and crash rates on our highways, and in the past decade, those declines have been particularly steep,” said Bill Graves, ATA president and CEO. “Safety is job one for ATA and its members, and the efforts we're making to improve it are remarkable and, for the first time, quantifiable.”

To view the ATA Safety Investment Study, click here.