January 14, 2016 2:00 PM, EST
Truck Miles Up; Fatalities, Fatality Rate Down in 2014, ATA Analysis Shows
The rate and total number of fatalities involving trucks weighing at least 10,000 pounds declined in 2014 from the prior year, according to newly released federal data.

The vehicles included generally range from Classes 3-8. They drove 4 billion more miles in 2014 than during the previous year, but 61 fewer people died in crashes involving trucks, according to an analysis of government data by American Trucking Associations.

With trucks driving more than 279 billion miles overall and 3,903 truck-involved fatalities occurring, the fatality rate fell for a second straight year to 1.4 per 100 million miles. The fatality rate has sunk 40.6% over the past decade, according to statistics compiled by the Federal Highway Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and reviewed by ATA.

“The short-term decline is welcome news, but the important figure is the long-term trend,” ATA President Bill Graves said. “Short-term changes, whether they’re increases or declines, can be blips — and just like you shouldn’t track your 401(k) on a daily basis, they shouldn’t be the primary lens truck safety is viewed through. The long-term trend — in this case, a more than 40% improvement — is of paramount importance.”

The fatality rate for all vehicles also declined, to 1.08 in 2014 from 1.09 fatalities per million miles traveled in 2013. The total number of fatalities for all vehicles also dropped to 32,675 in 2014 from 32,719 in 2013, according to government data.

“Our industry has worked hard and invested in technology and training to improve highway safety, not just for our drivers but for all motorists,” said Dave Osiecki, ATA chief of national advocacy. “And while there is more work to do, it is gratifying to see those efforts paying off in safer roads for all of us.”

See additional coverage of this topic in the Jan. 18 issue of Transport Topics.