While early estimates for 2019 from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show an overall decrease in highway fatalities for the third consecutive year, large truck fatalities have increased.
Defined as having a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds, large trucks accounted for a 1% increase in fatalities in crashes involving these vehicles. The preliminary estimates for the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) 2019 data does not classify whether trucks are privately owned or not, and includes large pickup trucks.
Overall, fatalities fell by approximately 440, or about 1.2% from the previous year, with 36,120 fatalities in motor vehicle traffic crashes compared to 36,560 in 2018. The data also reported that nine out of the 10 NHTSA regions are showing decreases in traffic-related fatalities in 2019 from 1-8%. Region 4, which includes Tennessee, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina, saw an estimated 2% increase.
Last year, the U.S. Department of Transportation established an intermodal truck and bus working group to focus on increasing safety and reducing truck and bus-related crashes. More recently, NHTSA disbursed $562 million in grants for highway safety programs to the Offices of Highway Safety in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories, and the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs. The grants will help state and local law enforcement agencies enhance traffic safety efforts to reduce risky driving behaviors.