The number of highway deaths in the U.S. climbed in 2012 to 33,561 – an increase of 1,082 from 2011, according to preliminary data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The same data also showed that the number of deaths to occupants in large trucks increased substantially for the third consecutive year, up 8.9 percent in 2012.

According to the NHTSA data, 697 large truck occupant fatalities occurred in 2012. That rise, however, was not as sharp as the 20-percent escalation that occurred in 2011, the agency said, cautioning that the total number of highway fatalities remains at a historic low despite the upward trend. The last time the total number of highway deaths jumped was in 2005.

The NHTSA reported that Americans drove roughly the same number of miles in 2012 as they did in 2011, so an increase in highway travel could not be to blame for the rise.

Some commercial truck industry groups say that the NHTSA’s figures for large trucks are misleading because they include non-freight hauling trucks smaller than tractor trailers, which usually have higher crash rates than semis and other large commercial trucks.

Despite any objections to terminology, however, the most current data released by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), also shows an upward trend in the number of large commercial truck and bus crashes, as well as the number of people killed and injured in those crashes.

FMCSA data show that commercial truck and bus crashes have risen steadily since 2009, as have the number of deaths and injuries resulting from those crashes. According to FMCSA records, in 2010, the number of deaths in large truck and bus crashes was 3,686 and 278 respectively, up from 3,380 and 254 in 2009. In 2011, 3,757 people were killed in large truck crashes and 283 in bus crashes. In 2012, 3,876 people were killed in commercial truck crashes and 263 people were killed in bus crashes. The number of injuries resulting from truck and bus crashes followed the same trend in those years.

In November, National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) representatives called for an audit of the FMCSA after its investigations of two large truck crashes and two commercial bus crashes revealed that the agency knew that serious safety issued plagued the operators, but failed to keep them off the road.

“Our investigators found that in many cases, the poor performing company was on FMCSA’s radar for violations, but was allowed to continue operating and was not scrutinized closely until they had deadly crashes,” said NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman.

Beasley Allen attorney Chris Glover focuses on personal injury and product liability cases involving 18-wheelers, heavy trucks and buses. If you have a question about these kinds of cases, he’d be happy to talk to you. Call Chris at 334-269-2343 or email Chris.Glover@beasleyallen.com.

Sources:

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Commercial Motor Vehicle Facts – March 2013
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Motor Carrier Safety Progress Report (as of June 30, 2013)
Commercial Carrier Journal



We're here to help!

We live by our creed of "helping those who need it most" and have helped thousands of clients get the justice they desperately needed and deserved. If you feel you have a case or just have questions please contact us for a free consultation. There is no risk and no fees unless we win for you.

Fields marked    may be required for submission.
  1. I'm an attorney

18 wheeler on the roadside with safety triangles

Truck platooning: Industry insiders, law enforcement,...

In general, platooning is a form of automated or driver-assisted technology that uses radar and...
18 wheeler on the roadside with safety triangles

Truck driver fatigue increases crash risks

Truck driver fatigue is becoming a more apparent issue, but efforts to protect truck drivers and other...
18 wheeler on the roadside with safety triangles

Government hopes to address role speed plays in...

To help reduce the number of trucking accidents caused or worsened by high speeds, the NHTSA and the...

Beasley Allen principal Chris Glover discusses his...

The book covers a wide range of legal topics relevant to trucking cases, including the basics of...

Beasley Allen shareholder Greg Allen discusses heavy...

Beasley Allen Principal & Lead Products Attorney Greg Allen discusses “heavy truck accidents,” or...

WSFA 12 News interviews Jere Beasley about 18-wheeler...

Beasley Allen Principal & Founder Jere Beasley spoke to WSFA 12 News regarding the recent filing of...

Best firm by far

Our case was handled with the utmost integrity and professionalism. If I could give them 10 stars, I would. This is the best legal firm I have ever dealt with by far.

—Pat