Officials noted an overall decrease in crash fatalities despite an increase in vehicle miles traveled. The Federal Highway Administration (FHA) reports that vehicles will drive approximately 39 billion miles in 2022, an increase of approximately 1.6% over 2021.
Decreases and increases in crash fatalities were nearly evenly divided among states, with 25 states increasing, 24 states decreasing and 1 state remaining the same.
Death toll in large truck accidents on the rise
Despite the decline in car crash deaths, the report’s findings on U.S. road safety remain worrisome.
Trends in the types of crash deaths varied by geography and the type of vehicle involved, the report said. An increase in the number of deaths in the following categories in the first nine months of 2022 compared to the first half of 2021;
- Rural Interstates 12%
- 10% of crashes involving at least one large truck
- 8% cyclists
- 5% of motorcyclists
- 2% among pedestrians
The findings highlight a significant increase in the number of fatal large truck accidents, as commercial vehicle crashes often result in serious injuries or fatalities due to the truck’s size and inability to stop quickly.
Tractor trailers can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, 16 times the weight of a typical passenger car, and can take more than 300 feet to come to a complete stop when traveling at 60 mph.
In November 2022, the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) released the results of a new study, “Predicting Truck Crash Involvement: 2022 Update,” which found that truck drivers with previous violations and documented behaviors were more likely to Get involved in a mega truck accident.
The report found that truck drivers with no previous driving violations had a 141 percent increased risk, while those with previous reckless driving violations were 104 percent more likely to be involved in tractor-trailer accidents, which often result in serious or fatal injury.