Dec. 4 – Several news reports in the general media lately have quoted federal figures about the rising number of fatal truck crashes. Yet when you take into account the number of miles traveled by large trucks, the fatal crash involvement rate for large trucks has decreased by 30% in the last 10 years, according to the Federal Highway Administration.

The “Large Truck Crash Profile: The 1997 National Picture,” released recently by the analysis division of FHWA’s Office of Motor Carriers, includes large truck crash information from three data files: the National Highway traffice Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System, NHTSA’s General Estimates System, and the FHWA’s Motor Carrier Management Information System. It contains more than 25 tables on the trends, vehicles, drivers, environment and events involved in large truck crashes.
Some of the report’s findings:
* In 1997, there were 4,871 large trucks involved in fatal crashes, slightly more than the 4,755 in 1996. But the number of fatal crashes per 100 million vehicle miles traveled dropped slightly, from 2.6 to 2.5.
* In two-vehicle fatal crashes between a large truck and a passenger vehicle, the report reveals that less than 1% of the truck drivers had a blood alcohol concentration of .10 or greater (the level for intoxication in most states). By contrast, 15% of passenger vehicle drivers in fatal crashes with a truck had a BAC level of .10 or greater.
* Driver-related crash factors were coded for 28% of truck drivers involved in a fatal crash with a single passenger vehicle. For passenger vehicle drivers in these crashes, 80% were coded with driver-related factors.
For more information on truck crashes, call the Office of Motor Carriers Information Analysis Division at (202) 366-0324.