Crash-related fatalities among occupants of large trucks rose 20 percent in 2011 from 2010 — which has spurred action from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration — while the overall number of highway deaths in 2011 fell to levels not seen since the 1940s, said the Department of Transportation this week.
The FMCSA says it is looking into what factors drove the large occupant death rate higher.
Americans drove fewer miles in 2011, the DOT said, but the number of accidents per 100 million vehicle miles traveled dropped more so than the number of miles driven.
Affected tractors are equipped with an automated Eaton UltraShift Plus or Eaton Advantage Transmission with right hand stalk shifter. In the affected trucks, the display on the instrument panel can indicate “N” when the shifter is set into “D” or “R,” causing the truck not to move.