Truck fatality rate drops

The fatality rate for commercial trucks on U.S. highways declined last year even though the overall highway fatality rate rose.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says the number of fatal crashes that involved large trucks dropped from 5,362 in 1999 to 5,307 in 2000.

The overall fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled was 1.6, up from a record low of 1.5 in 1999. The total number of people killed in highway crashes was up from 41,611 in 1999 to 41,800 in 2000. The number of people who died in alcohol-related crashes increased from 15,786 in 1999 to 16,068 in 2000.

The report shows that 61 percent of those in fatal crashes in 2000 were not wearing seat belts. Alcohol was a factor in 38 percent of fatal crashes.