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Truck crash deaths up 71%, safety group says, and DOT should act fast on speed limiters and Automatic Emergency Braking

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On Monday, the Truck Safety Coalition (TSC) issued a new report on truck crash fatalities and says that Congress and the DOT should act fast on speed limiters and Automatic Emergency Braking.

The TSC, a group made up of safety advocates and the families of truck crash victims, used National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data to determine that 2021 was “one of the worst years for truck crash deaths in modern history,” with more than 5,700 deaths and 155,000 injuries (It should be noted that the NHTSA data does not provide information on who was at fault in a fatal truck crash).

“Since 2009, truck crash deaths have increased by 71%,” the TSC said.

The group also used NHTSA data to determine the “deadliest dozen” states for truck crash deaths in terms of truck crash fatalities per 100,000 population: New Mexico, Arkansas, Mississippi, Montana, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Alabama, Louisiana, Nebraska, Kentucky, South Carolina, and Texas.

TSC Deadliest Truck Crash States Report

TSC specifically asked authorities to “aggressively pursue” the following changes.

  • DOT/NHTSA must expeditiously finalize its Automatic Emergency Braking rule for all classes of CMVs.
  • DOT/FMCSA must expeditiously complete its speed limiter rule for CMVs.
  • Congress must require DOT/NHTSA to conduct side underride guard impact testing, not doing so fails to comply with Congressional intent in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).
  • Congress must fully fund DOT to conduct its lifesaving work without unsafe riders that prohibit FMCSA from implementing specific safety provisions for teen truckers in the Safe Driver Apprenticeship Program
  • DOT/FMCSA must expeditiously require new motor carriers to pass a knowledge exam proving that they know and can implement Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) required to safely operate a motor carrier business, including those hauling hazardous materials. Currently, DOT allows anyone to operate in interstate commerce who files appropriate paperwork without requiring any evidence they know the rules to keep truck drivers and all roadway users safe.

“The findings in this report are deeply concerning. New Mexico truckers and drivers should be able to travel our state without worry or fear,” said Senator LujAn. “That is why I remain committed to pushing the Department of Transportation to take action to prevent needless deaths and keep our roadways safe. This is a moment of national crisis as we continue to lose tens and thousands of lives to traffic fatalities each year, and it is time for our leaders to step up and commit to putting an end to these preventable tragedies.”

“People can and should expect their government to keep them safe from the carnage large trucks cause on our roads and highways. It is time for Congress and DOT to fulfill this expectation without reservation,” Zach Cahalan, TSC Executive Director said.

The TSC is a group created through the partnership between Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) and Parents Against Tired Truckers (P.A.T.T.).

For more on the current status of the speed limiter mandate, please click here.

For more on the current status of a new Automatic Emergency Braking regulation, please click here.

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