Trucking industry safety performance reached record levels in 2009

Updated Apr 18, 2011

The rate of truck-involved fatalities on U.S. highways fell to 1.17 per 100 million miles in 2009 — making that year the trucking industry’s safest since the federal government began keeping track in 1975.

The rate fell 14.1 percent from the revised fatality rate of 1.37 in 2008, according to an analysis of data released by the Federal Highway Administration and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

“This is great news, not just for the trucking industry but for the entire motoring public,” ATA President and CEO Bill Graves says. “These improvements are a testament to the commitment to safety made by the trucking industry, the federal government, and trucking’s law enforcement partners.”

“Dedication to safety is a core value of ATA and the trucking industry,” ATA Chairman Barbara Windsor, president and CEO of Hahn Transportation, says. “We’ve expressed that with our 18-point progressive safety agenda and programs like Share the Road and America’s Road Team.  These figures are the fruits of those efforts.”

In addition to the fatality rate, the truck occupant fatality rate fell more than 17 percent to 0.17 per 100 million miles traveled.

“Because the highways are our workplace we want them to be as safe as possible,” said Kenny Lowry, a Share the Road professional truck driver for Wal-Mart Transportation with 3 million plus miles of accident free driving in a 34-year career. “Through ATA’s Share the Road Program, we have the opportunity to connect directly with all motorists, teach them good driving techniques and how to drive safely around large trucks.  These improved safety figures show we are making a difference.”

In 2009, NHTSA recorded 3,380 fatalities in 2,987 crashes, both down from the 4,245 fatalities and 3,754 crashes reported the previous year. FHWA reported that in 2009 trucks traveled more than 288 billion miles — down from 310.7 billion the previous year, though the agency significantly increased its historical truck mileage figures prior to publishing their 2009 data.

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