According to federal regulators, the number of fatalities in truck accidents has reached a “crisis” level and reversed the downward trend that was before the pandemic.

Based on preliminary data Published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Tuesday, the total death toll from accidents involving at least one large truck (total vehicle weight over £ 10,000) has increased by 13% from 2020 to 2021 from 4,965 to 5,601. This is for comparison with a decrease of about 1% between 2019 and 2021 (5005 to 4965).

NHTSA said the latest assessment is based on the trucks’ involvement in commercial and non-commercial use at the time of the accident. The results may change as the agency’s final death toll enters the database.

In total, according to NHTSA forecasts, 42,915 people died in road accidents last year, which is 10.5% more than in 2020. This is the highest death toll since 2005 and the highest annual percentage increase in the history of the mortality reporting system.

Taking into account mileage (VMT), the estimated mortality rate in 2021 was 1.33 deaths per 100 million VMT, which is slightly less than the 1.34 death rate per 100 million VMT in 2020.

“This crisis on our roads is urgent and can be prevented,” said NHTSA Deputy Secretary Stephen Cliff. “We will redouble our security efforts, and we need everyone – state and local authorities, security defenders, carmakers and drivers – to join us. Our whole life depends on it. “

The latest NHTSA data showed large shifts in deaths and deaths in a given month for some categories compared to the corresponding month of 2020. For example, the death toll on city roads increased from 57% in March 2020 to 62% in March 2021. For the whole year, the death toll on city roads increased by 16% in 2021 to 25,411.

Security lobbies, self-government speak

According to the Truck Safety Coalition, the NHTSA truck-related mortality rate is at a record high, an increase of 52% in road accidents since 2010. The coalition noted that while passenger vehicles are safer, 97% of deaths occur with passengers in passenger cars in a large truck accident.

“What else does it take to take security seriously?” Asked Down King, president of the coalition’s board of directors. “We have to do our best to reverse this horrible trend because life is hanging by a thread.”

The group called on regulators to take action on a number of issues, including the requirement for automatic emergency braking and advanced driver assistance systems on all trucks, completion of the proposed regulation, which requires all trucks to set speed limiters, and enact legislation that raises the minimum truck insurance requirements from $ 750,000 to $ 5 million.

Ariel Wolf, general counsel for the Autonomous Automotive Industry Association, which includes the autonomous truck companies Embark, TuSimple and Aurora, called the latest NHTSA mortality figures “the most sobering accident report since the death toll system was set up in 1975. ».

He noted that the surge in the number of fatalities in 2021 and the growth of “risky driving behavior” since 2020 are “reminiscent of why the autonomous car industry is dedicated to the development and deployment of rescue technology.” Cars that do not accelerate, break or distract can help radically increase safety on American roads. ”

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