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U.S. truck crash-fatality rates fall to lowest level in history
WASHINGTON -- Newly released Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) vehicle mileage figures confirm that the rate in fatal crashes, the fatality rate, and the fatal crash rate for large trucks each declined to its lowest level since the U.S. Department of Transportation began tracking large truck safety records in 1975. "These figures illustrate the effectiveness of the trucking industry's continuous efforts to increase safety on the nation's highways," said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves. "The motor carrier commitment to safety and industry outreach efforts are playing major roles in improving highway safety for all drivers." The 2006 fatal crash rate for large trucks stood at 1.93 fatal crashes per 100 million vehicle-miles-traveled. This breaks the previous low of 1.97 fatal crashes per 100 million vehicle-miles-traveled in 2002.

This sight is less common than ever in the U.S. and Canada
The large truck-involvement rate fell to 2.12 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, down from 2.21 a year earlier, while the fatality rate declined to 2.24 vehicle-miles-traveled, down from 2.34 in 2005. Improving safety figures are set against a backdrop of an increased number of vehicles on the nation's roadways. According to FHWA, there were nearly 3 million more registered cars and trucks in 2006 than in 2005. The numbers underscore the trucking industry's continual efforts to increase road safety. ATA's overall safety agenda includes greater education on sharing the road with large trucks, increased traffic enforcement for all vehicles that operate unsafely around large trucks, the adoption of primary safety belt laws in all states, and reinstatement of a national maximum speed limit of 65 mph for all vehicles. Like the Canadian Trucking Alliance here, ATA also supports limiting truck speeds at the time of manufacture. It's also no coincidence that the reduced crash rates come in the second full year since new hours-of-service rules took effect. Although, special interest groups like Public Citizen have been in and out of court since 2004 trying to get the rules scrapped, the rules -- at least in part -- are likely having a positive effect in saving lives.
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