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LARGE TRUCK CRASH TRENDS

SAFTEY FIRST / Post date: 1 September 2019

Recently, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released its latest annual edition of the Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts report. The report for 2017 contains statistics for the different severities of crashes involving large trucks and buses. 


The report is organized into four chapters: Trends, Crashes, Vehicles, and People. The chapters include tables, circumstances, statistics, summaries, and trends.


A concerning trend shows that the number of large trucks and buses involved in fatal crashes has increased by 42 percent… from its low of 3,432 in 2009.


Other statistics from the most recent report (comparing 2016 to 2017): 

  • The number of large trucks involved in fatal crashes increased by 10 percent… from 4,251 to 4,657
  • The number of large trucks involved in injury crashes increased by 5 percent… from 102,000 to 107,000
  • The number of large trucks involved in property-damage-only crashes increased by 3 percent… from 351,000 to 363,000
  • There were 841 large-truck-occupant fatalities in 2017… a 16 percent increase from 725 fatalities in 2016

Overall, the tables included in this report show that large-truck crashes in each category… fatal, injury, and property damage… have all been on the rise since 2009/2010. The data shows that our roadways are getting more dangerous, especially for truck drivers. 


One summary in the report states that the critical pre-crash event for 73 percent of the large trucks involved in fatal crashes was another vehicle, person, animal, or object in the large truck’s lane or encroaching into it.


So how can a professional truck driver prevent other vehicles, people, animals, or objects from encroaching into their lane? They can’t completely, but they can stay constantly vigilant to avoid hazards by using defensive driving techniques and principles.


Defensive driving is described in many ways, but in general, it is the ability to recognize potentially hazardous situations sufficiently in advance to allow time to avoid hazards or safely maneuver past them. A defensive driver always assumes that other drivers may make mistakes and is alert to avoid them.


The FMCSA website (and others) provides numerous defensive driving tips and techniques to avoid accidents. A few of those tips and techniques are listed below.

  • Scan 15 seconds ahead of your vehicle for traffic issues, work zones, and other dangers
  • Watch for hazards on the sides of your vehicle, including pedestrians, animals, and other moving objects
  • Use your peripheral vision and keep your eyes moving… don’t stare at objects directly in front of you
  • Signal and brake in plenty of time to give other drivers notice of your intent
  • Pay attention to changing weather and/or road conditions
  • Never drive distracted… any activity that takes your focus off the road can be described as a distraction
  • Never drive while fatigued… stay sharp and focused
  • Keep as much space as possible between your vehicle and those around you

Please take the time to review these techniques and others and commit to using them while driving. You may just be able to avoid a potential accident.


Always remember… safety first!