The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released long awaited truck crash data in from 2009, which shows a decrease in fatal truck crashes throughout the country.
The October 2011 full report from the federal agency shows fatal crashes involving big rigs dropped 31 percent and crashes that resulted in injuries dropped 30 percent from 2007 to 2009. Of the 33,808 people that were killed in passenger vehicle crashes, a total of 3,380 (10 percent) were killed in crashes involving tractor trailers. A total of 74,000 people were injured in crashes involving tractor trailers. Additionally, the fatal truck crash rate fell to one crash for 100 million miles driven in 2009, down from 1.1 crash for 100 million miles. The fatal truck crash rate has also dropped considerably since 2000, down 54.5 percent.
The American Trucking Association (ATA) called into question why it took so long for the FMCSA to release these numbers, insinuating that the agency "has chosen not to highlight these important results." The FMCSA is currently considering a revision to the amount of hours commercial truckers are allowed to be on the road during a shift, and the numbers in the 2009 report are being used by the ATA to make the public believe that trucking safety regulations do not need to be improved upon.
"Driver fatigue is a contributing factor in many fatal trucking accidents, and if the FMCSA is recommending restrictions to commercial driver shift times, the ATA should not get in the way of improving highway safety,” said Timothy Loranger, a truck crash attorney with Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman. “While it is true that the numbers show a positive trend in tractor trailer safety, it is wrong to insinuate that improvements to safety regulations are no longer necessary to help prevent more fatal tractor trailer crashes in the future."