Data released this month by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration shows that trucks were involved in 3,608 accidents that involved fatalities in 2011.
That number is up 3 percent from 2010, but is down 12 percent from 2008. It is also down 25 percent from 2001.
Moreover, in the same 10-year span, the number of accidents involving trucks that led to injuries was down 30 percent, and the number of crashes involving trucks that led to property damage was down 34 percent.
Truck driver-related factors were to blame in 56 percent of single-vehicle fatality crashes, FMCSA says. In fatal multi-vehicle crashes involving a truck, truck driver-related factors were the cause in 29 percent.
For passenger vehicle drivers involved in fatal accidents, at least one driver-related factor was attributed to 76 percent of single vehicle and 52 percent of multiple vehicle accidents.
Speeding was the top driver-related factor in fatalities for both trucks and passenger vehicles. Distraction and/or inattention was No. 2 for truck drivers, and fatigue, alcohol or drug use or illness was second for passenger car drivers.
In the fatal accidents in 2011 involving truckers, blood tests detected alcohol in 2.5 percent of truckers and 27.3 percent of passenger vehicle drivers.
Of the truckers involved in fatal crashes, 6 percent were 25 years old or younger, and 5 percent were 66 or older.
The full report is available on FMCSA’s website — Click here to see it.