Jump in truck driver fatalities in U.S. last year

Safer trucks but road deaths on the up

truck crash

In 2017 more truck drivers died in U.S. road crashes than any other year in nearly three decades.

The National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTA) crash data shows fatalities from truck crashes was on the up, despite overall traffic fatalities decreasing.

Large truck fatalities rose 9% to 4,761, an increase of 392 lives lost over the prior year.

About 1,300 of the deaths were truckers. The remaining 72% occurred in the other vehicle involved in the collision.

About 40% of truck occupants killed were not wearing seat belts.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) administrator Ray Martinez said the results are in line with an increase in road freight movements.

“With freight on the nation’s roadways at an all-time high, the potential of crashes and injuries does increase.”

The FMCSA believes distracted driving was a growing factor in the overall traffic death toll.

It also may explain some truck crashes, even as advanced driver assistance features like automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and cameras that see behind the truck are becoming standard on new trucks.

“We believe those new technologies add to the safety environment,” Martinez said.

“But whether it’s enough to turn the tide is too soon to know.”

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