Data can be a mysterious thing. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration ( FMCSA) unquestionably documents that injury crashes involving large trucks are on the rise while injury crashes involving buses have plunged.
From 2016 through 2019 large truck injury crashes went from 97,000 per year to 114,000. For buses the numbers went the other way from 16,000 to 13,000. Anomalously, both large trucks and buses saw substantial increases in so-called property damage only crashes for the same four year period.
One positive trend for both buses and large trucks is a steady multi-year decline for fatalities per vehicle mile traveled. This however is not indicative of a decrease in the economic toll these collisions exact on society. FMCSA estimates the costs of these crashes in 2019 were 163 billion dollars, up from 151 billion dollars just two years before.
The decline of fatalities per vehicle mile traveled had been ascribed to technological safety advances although seatbelt use in deadly large truck crashes increased steadily from 2009 to 2015 at which time seatbelt use declined to the present.
One common denominator across the period 2016 to 2019 was the truck weight rating for most fatal crashes. Not surprisingly the heavier the truck the more the mayhem. Class 8 trucks ( weight over 33,000 pounds) are consistently responsible for around 68% of fatal crashes.
There is a lag between data reporting and helpful analysis but clearly there are significant issues to be considered that are related to the size and manner of opertaion of large trucks on Americas; roadways.