Large Truck & Bus Crash Facts – 2011

LTBCS 2011The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has just released the “Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts 2011” report which examines statistics about fatal, injury, and property damage only crashes involving large trucks and buses that occurred during 2011.

This is an annual publication and it is organized into four key chapters:

  1. Trends (compare 2011 against other time periods),
  2. Crashes (counts number of incidents),
  3. Vehicles (counts vehicles in crashes — single versus multiples, etc.), and
  4. People (counts persons of all types (passengers, pedestrians, etc.) involved in crashes).

Highlights from Trends:

  • In 2011, 3,608 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes, a 3-percent increase from 2010. However, from 2008 through 2011 the number of large trucks involved in fatal crashes declined by 12 percent. The number of passenger vehicles involved in fatal crashes declined by 13 percent over the same period.
  • Over the past 10 years (2001 through 2011):
    • The number of large trucks involved in fatal crashes decreased from 4,823 to 3,608, a drop of 25 percent.
    • The number of large trucks involved in injury crashes decreased from 90,000 to 63,000, a drop of 30 percent.
    • The number of large trucks involved in property damage only crashes decreased from 335,000 to 221,000, a drop of 34 percent.

Highlights from Crashes:

  • Of the 273,000 police-reported crashes involving large trucks in 2011, 3,341 (1 percent) resulted in at least one fatality, and 60,000 (22 percent) resulted in at least one nonfatal injury.
  • mvr crash sceneSingle-vehicle crashes made up 22 percent of all fatal crashes, 13 percent of all injury crashes, and 21 percent of all property damage only crashes involving large trucks in 2011.
  • Almost two-thirds (63 percent) of all fatal crashes involving large trucks occurred on rural roads, and about one-fourth (25 percent) occurred on rural and urban Interstate highways.
  • Thirty-four percent of all fatal crashes, 22 percent of all injury crashes, and 17 percent of all property damage only crashes involving large trucks occurred at night (6:00 pm to 6:00 am).
  • The vast majority of fatal crashes (85 percent) and nonfatal crashes (89 percent) involving large trucks occurred on weekdays (Monday through Friday).

Highlights from Vehicles:

  • Large_Trucks_Cover_Front-300x287Singles (truck tractors pulling a single semi-trailer) accounted for 61 percent of the large trucks involved in fatal crashes in 2011; doubles (tractors pulling two trailers) made up 3 percent of the large trucks involved in fatal crashes; and triples (tractors pulling three trailers) accounted for 0.1 percent of all large trucks involved in fatal crashes.
  • Vehicle-related crash factors were coded for 4 percent of the large trucks involved in fatal crashes and 3 percent of the passenger vehicles involved in fatal crashes. Tires was the vehicle-related factor most often coded for both vehicle types.

Highlights from People:

  • Of the 3,757 drivers of large trucks involved in fatal crashes, 199 (6 percent) were 25 years of age or younger, and 175 (5 percent) were 66 years of age or older. In comparison, 5 (2 percent) of the 232 drivers of buses in fatal crashes were 25 years of age or younger, and 19 (8 percent) were 66 years of age or older.
  • Of the 3,757 drivers of large trucks involved in fatal crashes, 341 (10 percent) were not wearing a safety belt at the time of the crash; of those, 29 percent were completely or partially ejected from the vehicle. 
  • One or more driver-related factors were recorded for 56 percent of the drivers of Another example of a blended scorelarge trucks involved in single-vehicle fatal crashes and for 29 percent of the drivers of large trucks involved in multiple-vehicle fatal crashes. In comparison, at least one driver-related factor was recorded for 76 percent of the drivers of passenger vehicles (cars, vans, pickup trucks, and sport utility vehicles) involved in single-vehicle crashes and 52 percent of the passenger vehicle drivers in multiple-vehicle crashes. Speeding was the most often coded driver-related factor for both vehicle types; distraction/inattention was the second most common for large truck drivers, and impairment (fatigue, alcohol, drugs, illness) was the second most common for passenger vehicle drivers

cropped-trucks-highway.jpg

New Research Clarifies Large Truck Safety Trends

Large_Trucks_Cover_Front-300x287The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) has released findings from research of “…variations in safety trends across different classes of large trucks.

The study separated and evaluated a decade of medium- and heavy-duty truck crash records and identified notable crash trends specific to each population.”

More specifically, their press release states:

Using an ATRI-designed “crash rate index”, ATRI isolated specific variables such as vehicle type, crash location, and weather to determine the degree to which certain factors influenced crash trends for medium- and heavy-duty trucks. The analysis revealed noticeable differences in safety trends between different truck sizes, with medium-duty generally performing worse than heavy-duty trucks. In addition, the results indicated disparities between interstate and intrastate motor carriers.

“This research also points out that blending medium-duty crash statistics with heavy-duty crash statistics may unfairly drag down the safety gains made by heavy-duty truck fleets,” said American Trucking Associations President and CEO Bill Graves. “When it comes to truck safety, clearly one-size solutions do not fit all scenarios.”

This safety data analysis provides important insight for targeting crash mitigation efforts based on different truck size groups, and highlights important opportunities to reduce crashes and improve safety.

To request a complete copy of their research report titled “Large Truck Safety Trends” (FREE), just fill out the online form found at this LINK.

As reported at politico.com, the study found “…more crashes of medium-size trucks but far fewer crashes of the heaviest trucks on the road”

ATRI applied a “crash rate index” system and determined that a major drop in crashes of “heavy duty” trucks (those weighing over 26,000 pounds) during the 2000-2010 timespan was overshadowed by a 38.3 percent rise for medium duty trucks, which weigh between 10,001 and 26,000 pounds

In aggregate, the overly broad category signaled a drop in safety results when the largest vehicles actually outperformed the medium duty class. 

This is significant since vehicles with a GVWR of 26,000+ require specially qualified & licensed drivers, generally receive greater scrutiny and must comply with additional regulations (tied to the Commercial Drivers License).   The smaller vehicles are still regulated, but tend to be concentrated in service industries, local operations, construction entities and non-trucking focused. 

The mixed scores affect how fleets are targeted for audits, and clarifying the data may help poorly performing fleets get more thoughfully tailored safety assistance which could reverse crash trends, save lives and reduce risk of injuries.

 Dan Murray, ATRI’s VP-research, told Fleet Owner (magazine) “The good news here is that heavy-duty truck safety is actually better than we thought,” he explained. “But the bad news, which borders on disturbing, is that combining medium- and heavy-duty crash statistics has masked a high level of medium-duty truck crash rates.”

Murray is also attributed by Fleet Owner to have said ATRI is now focused on “drilling down” further into the crash causation data for both truck types to help determine what specific tactics can help boost safety trends for each class of commercial vehicle.

To request a complete copy of their research report titled “Large Truck Safety Trends” (FREE), just fill out the online form found at this LINK.

SafetyFirst Systems works with commercial vehicles from sedans to tractor trailers — providing driver qualification, performance monitoring, coaching programs (for supervisors) and much more. Our client base consists of a network of more than 75 insurance providers, trade associations and more than 3,800 active fleet clients in all industry types.

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