Despite a drop in overall traffic accident deaths, preliminary estimates show that fatalities in crashes involving at least one small truck slightly increased in 2019. These National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates show the need to prevent car accidents and other vehicle crashes by implementing safety improvements.
Earlier this month, the NHTSA issued preliminary data for the fatality analysis reporting system, that is provided to the public and Congress, for 2019. Accident deaths’ involving at least one large truck rose by one percent last year. A large truck is a commercial or privately owned truck having a gross vehicle weight over 10,000 pounds.
But deaths for all traffic accidents are projected to drop, according to FARS. Preliminary data indicated that an estimated 36,120 people died in all vehicle accidents last year. This was a projected drop of 1.2 percent or 440 fatalities from the 36,560 deaths reported in 2018. The number of vehicle miles travelled also increased less than one percent.
Although traffic-related accidents dropped slightly from 2018, overall figures are still higher than 10 years earlier. NHTSA reported 33,883 traffic related deaths in 2009.
One expert linked impaired driving, higher speed limits and distracted driving to these high figures. For commercial vehicles, he recommended improved training for drug recognition for carrier operators and law enforcement personnel.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration intends to issue new regulations on the number of hours a trucker may drive and implement a drug and alcohol clearinghouse. The FMCSA will also conduct more research into new assisted driver technologies.
Installing devices as standard equipment into vehicles would be effective in reducing fatalities. Breathalyzers, for example, could help stop drunk drivers. Bluetooth chips would limit speaking on the phone and driving.
Victims of an accident caused by a negligent, impaired or distracted driver may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages and other losses. An attorney can help obtain evidence and file a timely lawsuit.