Large-truck-related crash fatalities increased again in 2018

Overall, deaths from vehicle crashes down nationally for second straight year

Posted October 25, 2019

While 2018 highway crash data showed an overall decrease in fatalities, large-truck-related fatalities increased since 2017.

Fatalities for crashes involving large trucks rose 0.9 percent from 2017 to 2018 according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). The increase occurred despite the overall 2.4 percent decline in overall fatalities on U.S. roads — the second straight year of declining overall numbers.

Focusing on fatalities involving large trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds, total deaths rose to 4,951 in 2018 from 4,905 in 2017. Among fatalities in crashes involving large trucks:

  • Non-occupants had 48 more fatalities, a 9.7-percent increase from 2017;
  • Large-truck occupant fatalities in single vehicle crashes rose by 10 people (1.9 percent);
  • Large-truck occupant fatalities in multiple-vehicle crashes decreased by three people (0.8 percent); and
  • Occupant fatalities in other vehicles decreased by nine people, (0.3 percent).

The 2018 FARS release also clarified previously released data on large trucks involved in fatal crashes. After re-examining supporting material, NHTSA reclassified several light pickup trucks to the large truck category. The reclassification resulted in a previously reported 9 percent increase in large-truck related fatalities for 2017 being revised to 4.9 percent.

Overall, the total number of people killed in highway crashes fell from 37,473 people in 2017 to 36,560 in 2018. The fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled also decreased by 3.4 percent to 1.13, the lowest rate since 2014.

This article was written by Dave Lubach of J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.

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