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Commercial Truck Drivers are Safest on the Road

Safe Roads

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Safety advocate groups continue to argue that commercial motor vehicle drivers contribute a major danger to road safety. Organizations and political leaders tend to bow to their suggestions in relationship to their own agendas.

The bashing of our professional truck drivers have become all too common and it is time to set the record straight, using factual statistics. is one of the largest voices condemning professional truck drivers and motor carriers concerning highway safety, often mentioning that fatigue is a “contributing factor in as many as 30-40% of all heavy truck crashes.”  The problem with this statement is that it is completely false.

Today, the truth is that commercial trucks are involved in 2.4% of all car accidents and more than 80% of those accidents are the fault of the non-commercial driver.  Furthermore, only 16% of all truck driving accidents are due to the truck driver’s fault and of those death related accidents, only 4% of trucks are fatigue related.  (Ref: Source 1).

In fact, Anne Ferro, Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has finally stated that “fatigue” is low on the list for the causes of truck accidents.  According to the FMCSA, truck driver fatigue was a factor in just 1.4% of all fatal truck accidents, this coming from the FMCSA’s own Analysis Division in their report:  “2009: Historic Truck Crash Declines.

Because safety groups are continually discussing the dangerous safety hazards of motor carriers and their truck drivers, it is important to provide actual statistics pertaining to truck crashes and fatality rates, as it compares to the record of auto drivers.

Motor Carrier Safety

The following is a list of 5 large motor carriers showing miles driven per year, reported crashes, number of fatalities resulting from those crashes (average) and the average number of crashes and fatalities per year, per 100,000 miles driven:  (Ref: Source 2).

1.  Schneider National

Miles per year: 1,152,688,659
Reported Crashes: 463
Fatalities: 16.5
Accidents per 100,000 miles: 0.40
Fatalities per 100,000 miles:  .0014

2.  Crete Carrier

Miles per year:  524,000,000
Reported Crashes: 198.5
Fatalities: 7.5
Accidents per 100,000 miles: 0.37
Fatalities per 100,000 miles:  .0014

3.  J.B. Hunt

Miles per year:  825,156,529
Reported Crashes: 332.5
Fatalities: 10.5
Accidents per 100,000 miles: 0.40
Fatalities per 100,000 miles:  .0013

4.  Prime

Miles per year:  542,785,567
Reported Crashes: 253.5
Fatalities: 6.5
Accidents per 100,000 miles: 0.47
Fatalities per 100,000 miles:  .0012

5.  Con-Way Freight  (2009 report)

Miles per year:  371,073,137
Reported Crashes: 141
Fatalities: 3
Accidents per 100,000 miles: 0.38
Fatalities per 100,000 miles:  .0008

When figuring a “Standard Frequency Rate“, 100,000 miles is the standard used.  When looking at accident and fatality rates between auto drivers and truck drivers, the number of average miles driven within a year must be counted into the equation.

A motorist who drives 100,000 miles a year has 20 times the accident exposure risk than a driver who logs 10,000 miles in a year. (Ref: Source 3).  The more miles spent behind the wheel, obviously will raise the accident/fatality factor.

Who would you consider to be the safest driver?  The auto driver with one accident in two years after 24,000 miles or the truck driver with two accidents in two years after 200,000 miles?

Auto Driver Safety Record

Now, let us compare the over-all accident and fatality rates with the non-commercial driver:

  • As of May 19th, 2010 – the fatality rate for auto drivers in the state of Arizona, was 2.1 per 100,000 miles driven.  (Ref: Source 4).

As further examples, for 2007, the last date for available data, the fatality rate for auto drivers, per 100,000 miles driven were:  (Ref: Source 5).

  • Massachusetts – 0.76
  • Rhode Island – 0.80
  • Pennsylvania – 1.37
  • Louisiana – 2.17
  • Montana – 2.45

Crashes involving big trucks make for big news and although one life lost is a tragedy, safety groups and non-commercial drivers need to look at the true, hard facts when it comes to who are really the safest drivers on the road.

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By: Allen Smith

Allen Smith is a 37 year veteran who started at an early age in a household goods family moving business. He began driving straight trucks in 1977 and moved to the big rigs in 1982. His experience within the industry includes; owner operator, company driver, operations manager, and owner of a long distance HHG moving business, taking many of the long haul moves himself when needed. Allen Smith, a truck driver advocate who is driven by the desire to help others succeed within an industry where injustice, unrewarded sacrifice, and lack of respect and recognition exists. Allen and his wife Donna are hosts of Truth About Trucking ”Live” on Blog Talk Radio. Other websites include AskTheTrucker, TruckingSocialMedia, NorthAmericanTruckingALerts, TruthAboutTrucking, and many Social Media websites. In 2011 Allen and Donna hosted the first Truck Driver Social Media Convention, designed to create unity and solutions for the trucking industry. This is now being extended through the North American Trucking Alerts network as those within the industry join forces for the betterment of the industry. Allen strongly supports other industry advocates who are also stepping up to the plate to help those who share honesty, guidance and direction. He believes that all those involved in trucking need to be accountable for their part within the industry, including drivers, carriers, brokers, shippers, receivers, etc… The list of supporters and likeminded people grow daily, networking together and sharing thoughts and ideas for the betterment of trucking. He has coined the popular phrase "Raising the standards of the trucking industry"

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3 Responses to Commercial Truck Drivers are Safest on the Road. - Post a Comment

  1. […] Road Conditions RSS FEED 25 Jan Commercial Truck Drivers are Safest on the Road […]

  2. Jeff Maher

    God Speed to all who deliver our goods across this beautiful country.

  3. Jeff Maher

    Godspeed to all who deliver goods and services within this great nations borders.

    This is a challenging conversation to have. Who is the safest driver? How is that defined? What does it mean, really, to some?

    Myself I have driven, for many thousands of miles, tractor/trailer rigs as well as school buses and various stretch limousines.

    Here are my thoughts in a nutshell: Our biggest problem on the road today is how drivers react to what other drivers do. It’s not drivers that drive too slow, drivers who are in a hurry, drivers who don’t follow the rules of the road.

    Drivers with little to many decades of experience know what other drivers are capable of. This is the key to my point – If we know that drivers are capable of “driving like idiots” (most drivers seem to think this), then you should be able to adjust to this “way ahead of time”.

    Momentum is not important if it pushes the limits of safety – isn’t this what we are talking about … safety?

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