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Truck & 18-Wheeler Accident Fatalities Likely Rose in 2019

Houston Truck Accident Lawyer | Truck & 18-Wheeler Accident Deaths Up in 2019

Recent estimates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicate crash fatalities involving at least one 18-wheeler or other large truck likely rose last year, even as overall traffic deaths were down slightly.

NHTSA Forecasts 1% increase in Large Truck Accident Deaths

Preliminary Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) data for 2019 suggest truck accident deaths increased by about 1% in 2019.

That data includes any crash on a public highway involving a large truck with gross vehicle weight ratings greater than 10,000 pounds. Although FARS doesn’t distinguish between commercial and privately-owned trucks, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) noted that efforts to improve safety in the commercial sector remain important.

“FMCSA’s top priority remains to reduce crashes and fatalities on the nation’s roadways,” an FMCSA spokesperson told Transport Topics News. “That’s why the agency continues to implement important safety initiatives, like a final rule updating the hours-of-service regulations, important research into new assisted technologies for drivers to improve safety, and the implementation of FMCSA’s Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse.”

Overall Traffic Deaths Down by 1.2% Nationwide

Despite the apparent increase in large truck crash deaths, the NHTSA is also forecasting a 1.2% decrease in overall traffic accident deaths for 2019. Initial data indicates that 36,120 people died in motor vehicle crashes last year, an estimated decrease of 1.2% (or 440 deaths) from the 36,560 fatalities reported in 2018. Fatalities appear to have dropped in most major traffic safety categories:

  • Drivers (down 3%)
  • Passengers (down 4%)
  • Motorcyclists (down 1%)
  • Pedestrians (down 2%)
  • Pedalcyclists (down 3%)

Nine out of 10 NHTSA regions saw a decline. The southeast region — Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida — is estimated to have an increase in traffic-related fatalities, of 2%, in 2019.

While that’s obviously good news, Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance Director of Crash and Data Programs Christopher Turner noted that traffic-related fatalities remain higher than they were a decade ago. Impaired driving, increased speed limits, and distracted driving have contributed to this increase.

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