Large-truck-related fatalities down in 2007

The number of highway fatalities in crashes involving large trucks dropped again in 2007, according to a study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The total number of traffic fatalities in large-truck-involved crashes decreased 4.4 percent, from 5,027 in 2006 to 4,808 in 2007. This number is at its lowest level since 1992. Truck occupant fatalities fell 0.4 percent, and fatalities for occupants of other vehicles involved in the crash dropped 5.2 percent. Fatalities for people who were not a vehicle occupant, such as cyclists or pedestrians, declined 4.7 percent.

This news comes as many drivers are reducing both their mileage and speed to reduce fuel consumption.

Moreover, some of the decline in fatalities may be attributed to trucks using more safety technologies such as collision avoidance, lane departure warning, stability control, and brake stroke monitoring systems. The American Trucking Associations (ATA) is supporting a measure under consideration by Congress that would give tax incentives to carriers that adopt these safety technologies.

ATA's safety initiative includes many efforts to make highways safer for all drivers. The “Be Ready. Be Buckled.” safety belt education program and ATA's Share the Road program, which educates motorists on how to drive safely around large trucks, are just two examples.

The group has also called for a national speed limit of 65 miles per hour, and has asked the United States Department of Transportation to require speed governors to be set at 68 miles per hour on trucks at the time of manufacture. ATA is also encouraging states to focus on better enforcement of traffic laws that prevent unsafe driving actions around large trucks.

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