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Large Truck Fatalities are on the Rise
Mariah Barr
6 mins read
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) latest traffic fatalities estimates report has been released. The numbers are making history, but not in a good way.  

About 42,915 people died in motor vehicle accidents in 2021, according to NHTSA projections, compared to 38,824 fatalities in 2020. This is an astounding 10.5% jump – the largest annual percentage increase in the history of the Fatality Analysis Reporting System.  

What exactly is causing this unfortunate increase in accidents and fatalities? The report details a few contributing factors, such as speeding and alcohol use, but there isn’t one end-all-be-all answer to this question. These numbers show us there’s no better time to prioritize your fleet’s safety than right now – before it gets worse.  

Read on to find out the report’s findings on truck fatalities, speeding-related fatalities, and crashes involving alcohol use, plus, how you can take action now to avoid becoming a part of these statistics later.  

Large Truck Crashes & Fatalities  

In terms of large trucks, which are defined by the NHTSA as both commercial and non-commercial trucks with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) over 10,000 pounds, fatalities involving at least one rose by 13% in 2021 compared to 2020.   

The report divides the large truck accident fatalities data into specific categories with comparisons between 2020 and 2021. Here are the person-centered groupings and the corresponding fatality percentages: 

  • Drivers – increased by 12% 
  • Passengers – increased by 9% 
  • Motorcyclists – increased by 9% 
  • Pedestrians – increased by 13% 
  • Bicyclists – increased by 5% 

Putting responsible, qualified drivers behind the wheel of your trucks helps build a safer fleet, which in turn helps prevent fatalities like these. Hiring better drivers starts with having a better hiring process. Foley’s DOT-compliant eApplication makes it easier for CDL drivers to apply to your company and gives you the power to seamlessly choose the right applicant for the job.  

Pairing the application with our background screening services then allows you to check a driver’s safety performance history, motor vehicle report, criminal background, and other important job-related factors. This information helps you to make a better final decision on who to trust behind the wheel of your big rigs. 

Speeding-Related Accidents & Fatalities 

Data from previous NHTSA reports shows speeding-related fatalities greatly increased from 2019 to 2020 by a total of 17%. The additional 5% increase from 2020 to 2021 means speeding-related crashes were still higher last year than the levels in 2019.  

How can you make sure your employees aren’t speeding like these drivers? Simply asking or telling them not to only goes so far. If they want to get to their destination quickly or think they’re going to be late, they’re most likely going to speed. 

Installing speed-limiting devices in trucks is one way to put a stop to it, but that can be costly and put your vehicles out of service. Instead, consider tracking your drivers’ habits with an MVR monitoring program.  

A Rock-Solid Safety Culture Starts Here 

If you choose to use Foley’s MVR monitoring technology, you’ll have an inside look at how your employees are representing your company while they’re in the driver’s seat. If any moving violations (like speeding!) are detected on their motor vehicle reports, you’ll receive a notification. From there, you can address the issue how you see fit. It’s an easy way to keep an eye on their driving habits and hopefully prevent fatal accidents.  

Accidents Involving Alcohol Use 

The number of fatalities in police-reported accidents involving alcohol jumped up 16% from 2019 to 2020. The estimated fatalities in the same type of crashes increased by another 5% from 2020 to 2021.  

NHTSA typically uses data from blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) test results in this reporting, but there is a significant delay in collecting and sharing the data, which is why this study depended on police-reported alcohol involvement.  

Having a rock-solid drug and alcohol testing program in place can help ensure your company isn’t adding to these detrimental numbers. And if you want an all-in-one solution that includes pre-employment, random, post-accident, return-to-duty, and reasonable suspicion testing, Foley is the right choice for you.  

View Now! Drug & Alcohol Testing in 2022 Webinar 

We work with over 12,000 collection sites throughout the country, giving your employees easily accessible locations no matter where they’re traveling. Plus, we use the most up-to-date electronic Custody and Control Forms (eCCFs) so you’re always following the latest compliance rules. Put the safety of your fleet and other drivers on the road first by utilizing Foley’s drug and alcohol testing consortium.  

Don’t Become Part of the Problem 

Foley’s DOT application, background screening, MVR monitoring, and drug and alcohol testing programs can all reduce the likelihood of your drivers being involved in fatal accidents – or any accidents, for that matter.  

Building a better fleet starts with Foley, so get started with our full suite of DOT-compliant screening and reporting software sooner rather than later. Contact a compliance expert for a personalized information session!

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