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NHTSA: Fatal crashes involving commercial vehicles up more than 5%


The US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released 2016 fatal crash data on Friday and found that not only were overall highway fatalities up over the last two years, but that fatal crashes involving trucks are also on the rise.

During the year of 2016, 37,461 lives were lost throughout all 50 states and the District of Columbia: this number is an increase of 5.6% from the prior year.

Fatalities Involving Large Trucks On The Rise

The data from the NHTSA shows that fatalities involving large trucks have increased by 52% fro 2015 to 2016. These statistics do not indicate who was at fault in the rashes.

Fatal Truck Crashes Up

Highway Fatalities Increase By 2.6% Overall

According to the USDOT release, “the number of vehicle miles traveled on U.S. roads in 2016 increased by 2.2 percent and resulted in a fatality rate of 1.18 deaths per 100 million VMT – a 2.6-percent increase from the previous year.”

The occurrence of distracted driving decreased; however, deaths relating to other reckless driving behaviors, like speeding, alcohol impairment, and not wearing seatbelts, increased.

“Motorcyclist and pedestrian deaths accounted for more than a third of the year-to-year increase.”

The 2016 national data shows that:

  • Distraction-related deaths (3,450 fatalities) decreased by 2.2 percent
  • Drowsy-driving deaths (803 fatalities) decreased by 3.5 percent
  • Drunk-driving deaths (10,497 fatalities) increased by 1.7 per­cent
  • Speeding-related deaths (10,111 fatalities) increased by 4.0 percent
  • Unbelted deaths (10,428 fatalities) increased by 4.6 percent
  • Motorcyclist deaths (5,286 fatalities – the largest number of motorcyclist fatalities since 2008) increased by 5.1 percent
  • Pedestrian deaths (5,987 fatalities – the highest number since 1990) increased by 9.0 percent; and
  • Bicyclist deaths (840 fatalities – the highest number since 1991) increased by 1.3 percent

Due to the increase in reckless driving deaths, the NHTSA, local partners, law enforcement, and more than 350 members of the Road to Zero Coalition have come together to directly address that 94% of deaths were caused by human behavior.

The NHTSA continues to promote their goal of reducing or eliminating human error and risky behaviors while driving. The NHTSA’s mission is to save lives, prevent injuries, & reduce economic costs due to road traffic, crashes, through education, research, safety standards, & enforcement.


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