The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released their annual Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) numbers on October 3rd 2018, which shows that roadway fatalities were down 2 percent year-over-year in 2017. In spite of this, the NHTSA warned that this decrease did not necessarily indicate “an across-the-board trend.”

Alcohol-related auto fatalities have dropped 1.1 percent from 2016 to 2017, and the number of unbelted passenger occupant fatalities declined by 4.2 percent year-over-year as well. Speed-related fatalities declined by 5.6 percent; motorcycle-related fatalities dropped by 3.1 percent; and van occupant fatalities decreased by 5.8 percent.

With all that being said, there was one category of fatalities that did increase significantly from the year prior: large-truck occupant fatalities. That figure jumped 16 percent from 2016 to 2017, with approximately 40 percent of those occupants not wearing seatbelts.

FARS defines a large truck as having a gross weight of more than 10,000 pounds, which as a result includes non-commercial, intrastate-restricted trucks that may not necessarily fall under Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations, as well as commercial, interstate-operated trucks that do.

For the category of trucks weighing between 10,000 and 14,000 pounds, the number involved in fatal crashes doubled from 2016 to 2017. Trucks exceeding 26,000 pounds were also involved in 126 more fatal crashes in 2017 than the year prior, a 3.5 percent increase.

According to the FMCSA, the rise of large truck-related fatalities can be partially contributed to an improvement in the U.S. economy, as more businesses increase the commercial vehicles they have on the roads. The agency indicated that they needed more time with the data to “drill down on how many of the fatalities involved vehicles registered by FMCSA.”

If you or a loved one were injured as a result of a truck or other motor vehicle accident, it is strongly recommended that you seek experienced counsel immediately.