In a recent story for Overdrive, the magazine’s editorial director, Max Heine, delved into the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s annual report on truck accidents.
The FMCSA report stated the number of trucks involved in fatal accidents decreased by 5% in 2014. However, truck driver injuries skyrocketed by 21%. Therefore, Heine sought clarity on the issue.
There’s no discrepancy between the two points, says FMCSA Spokesman Duane DeBruyne.
He noted that new technologies “such as electronic stability control, automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, lane departure … save lives by making more crashes ‘survivable’.”
Dan Murray, vice president of the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), said he knows why. He pointed to ATRI’s July 2013 report, “Assessing the Impacts of the 34-Hour Restart Provisions.”
“We predicted and documented that when you move trucks into the daytime, basically rush hours, property damage crashes go way up, injury crashes increase,” Murray says. “Therefore, because trucks move at 6 mph instead of 55 mph, fatalities decreased.”
He concludes that injuries jumped in 2014.
Overall, that was the first full year that included the new restart provisions. Also, other possible factors include the continued shortening of average length of haul and growing congestion.
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