The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released new traffic statistics today for 2012. According to the Truck Safety Coalition, truck crash fatalities increased for the third consecutive year. In 2012, truck accident deaths increased by nearly four percent. The statistics also indicate that truck occupant fatalities increased by roughly nine percent, indicating that truck accidents are deadly for the occupants of all vehicles. Due to the economic recovery, trucking companies are putting more trucks on the road, moving more freight, and as a result increasing the potential for trucking accidents.
Despite a rise in truck accident fatalities, the trucking industry continues to push for an increase in the maximum number of hours a trucker may operate without rest and to allow larger payloads for truckers to haul. Currently, truck drivers are allowed to drive for 11 hours out of a 14 hour work day, and they routinely work more than 70 hours in a week. Safety advocates like the Truck Safety Coalition have long opposed longer hours of service for truck drivers because truck driver fatigue is a contributing factor in too many truck accidents. The Truck Safety Coalition has also opposed the trucking industry push to allow heavier trucks on America's highways, asserting that bigger, heavier, trucks cause deadlier accidents.
With truck accident deaths on the rise, it is critical that organizations like the Truck Safety Coalition receive support in their efforts to address truck safety issues.