Smaller Commercial Trucks Account for Higher Rate of Traffic Deaths

Large, over-the-road tractor-trailers are dangerous. According to the most recent data – the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) compiled each year by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – 3,757 people were killed in commercial trucking accidents in 2011.

However, a recent study finds that accidents involving smaller commercial vehicles are responsible for an even higher rate of fatalities.

On June 5, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released a summary of a study it conducted on single-unit trucks. Commonly known as straight trucks, and often times used for local deliveries, the NTSB categorizes single-unit trucks as having a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds, all axles attached to a single frame, and cargo units attached to the truck cab.

Straight-Truck Accidents Kill 1,800 People Each Year

The agency reviewed accidents involving single-unit trucks between 2005 and 2009 and found that:

The NTSB has no power to mandate safety changes but, based on this study, made a number of recommendations to other federal agencies that do. These include requiring commercial driver’s licenses for all straight-truck drivers and mandatory guards to prevent passenger vehicles from underriding these commercial vehicles.

While not as large as tractor-trailers, straight trucks nonetheless pose significant dangers to others on the road. Like negligent large-truck owners and companies, owners and operators of smaller commercial vehicles in catastrophic accidents must be accountable to their victims.