The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently issued the final statistics for 2019. The sad news here is that the number of fatal crashes involving trucks remained essentially unchanged — the total number of deadly crashes involving at least one semi-truck went from 5,006 in 2018 to 5,005 in 2019. These numbers are based on commercial and non-commercial trucks weighing 10,000 pounds or more.

Overall rates dipped

While the rates for heavy trucks remained the same, the overall rate of traffic fatalities dipped from 36,835 in 2018 to 36,096 in 2019, for a 2% decrease. That adds up to an overall fatality rate of 1.10 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, down from 1.14 in 2018 and the lowest overall rate since 2014.

Troubling projections for 2020

The NHTSA also released preliminary projections for 2020, based on estimates from the first six months of the year. The total number of road-related fatalities was 16,650, a 2% decrease over the same period in 2019 (16,988 deaths). This data is based on an estimated 264.2 billion miles traveled, a 16.6% decrease in the number of miles traveled. The fatality rate per 100 million miles was 1.25, which should be cause for concern.

Trucks still on the road

Trucks provide an indispensable service for moving goods around the country. Many drivers had caps on hours lifted so they could drive more miles in 2020, which likely led to an equal or higher number of crash fatalities caused by trucks.

There are also reports that truck drivers are engaging in the same risky behavior as other drivers during the current national health emergency. The NHTSA cites truck drivers failing to use seatbelts, speeding, and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Victims can hold drivers accountable

Those who lose loved ones due to tragic but avoidable circumstances like these may wish to take action to hold the careless drivers accountable for their negligent behavior.