According to the English writer Rex Stout, “There two kinds of statistics: the kind you look up and the kind you make up.” Last month, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration released a report containing the most recent statistics for accidents involving large trucks and commercial buses in the United States. Unfortunately, the statistics are not made up; only cause for concern.
Results of National Report on Large Truck Accidents in U.S.
The “Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts 2010” is the latest version of a report produced annually by the FMCSA, so these are the most recent figures to announce. Numerous sources were included in compiling the report.
The study’s findings included these notable statistics for 2010:
• 3,446 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes, up 9 percent from 2009, and accounted for 3,944 deaths
• Alcohol was detected in the blood of 3 percent of large truck drivers in fatal crashes
• One or more driver-related factors were recorded for six out of every 10 (63 percent) drivers of large trucks involved in single-vehicle fatal crashes and almost 3 out of every 10 (27 percent) of the drivers of large trucks involved in multiple-vehicle fatal crashes
• Speeding was the most often cited commercial truck driver-related factor; distraction/inattention was the second most common factor
• From 2000 through 2010, intercity buses accounted for 12 percent of all buses involved in fatal crashes, while school buses and transit buses accounted for 40 percent and 35 percent, respectively, of all buses involved in fatal crashes
Certainly this latest report documents the potential dangers big commercial trucks and buses pose for other drivers on the road. While the use of statistics is telling, the big picture to remember is that so many of these statistics actually represent an innocent human life lost or devastated by disabling injury.