According to new data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the roads are becoming a more dangerous place for truck drivers. In 2017, the number of truck drivers who died in a fatal crash was up 26% from just two years prior.
Jack Van Steenburg, the chief safety officer for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), was one of the speakers at the 2019 Transportation Research Board annual meeting on January 15th. Steenburg said that 841 large truck occupants died in crashes in 2017. That number was 725 in 2016 and 665 in 2015. It’s the most truckers who have died in crashes since records started being kept on that statistic in 2003.
But that isn’t the only new data point that’s concerning. The percentage of fatal crashes that involved at least one large truck jumped to 12.4% in 2017, up from 11.1% in 2015. Also up were number of total crashes involving a truck or bus and the total number of fatalities from crashes involving a truck or bus.
The most common driver-related factors in fatal truck or bus crashes were speeding, distracted driving, failure to yield, impairment (fatigue), and careless driving.
Speaking on the same panel, FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez said the agency would be working to lower those fatality numbers. He pointed to “streamlined data collection” allowing for safety improvements and placed at least partial blame on drivers.
“We all know about the human factor in crashes,” said Martinez according to Transport Topics. “You hear drivers say that they know when they’re tired. That’s not necessarily true.”