The rate of highway fatalities from accidents involving large trucks fell 14.1% to the lowest level on record, according to an American Trucking Associations analysis of Department of Transportation data released Monday.
ATA’s analysis of vehicle miles traveled showed 1.17 deaths per 100 million miles traveled in 2009, down from a 1.37 rate in 2008. It marks the lowest rate on record since DOT began compiling such data in 1975.
“This is great news, not just for the trucking industry but for the entire motoring public,” ATA President Bill Graves said Monday in releasing the analysis.
“These improvements are a testament to the commitment to safety made by the trucking industry, the federal government, and trucking’s law enforcement partners,” Graves said.
The decline in truck-related fatalities continues a downward trend of the past years and represents the lowest rate since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Federal Highway Administration began compiling data in 1975. NHTSA and FHWA are DOT agencies.
NHTSA previously reported a total of 3,380 fatalities in 2,987 crashes involving trucks weighing more than 10,000 pounds in 2009. That compared with 4,245 fatalities in 3,754 crashes in 2008.
FHWA calculated that trucks traveled 288 billion miles in 2009, a decline of 7.4% from 311 billion miles in 2008.
“Dedication to safety is a core value of ATA and the trucking industry,” ATA Chairman Barbara Windsor said in a statement.
“We’ve expressed that with our 18-point progressive safety agenda and programs like Share the Road and America’s Road Team. These figures are the fruits of those efforts,” said Windsor, CEO of Hahn Transportation, New Market, Md.
“Because the highways are our workplace, we want them to be as safe as possible,” said Kenny Lowry, a Share the Road professional truck driver for Wal-Mart Transportation with 3 million-plus miles of accident free driving over his 34-year career.
“Through ATA’s Share the Program, we have the opportunity to connect directly with all motorists, teach them good driving techniques and how to drive safely around large trucks. These improved safety figures show we are making a difference,” Lowry said in a statement released by ATA.