The FMCSA report also found some major contributing factors that lead to truck wrecks in 2015, including driver-related factors, collisions and overturns and speed limits.
Driver-related factors is often referred to as driver behavior, and in 2015, 33 percent of fatal truck wrecks were the result of driver behavior such as speeding, driver distraction and driver inattention.
Direct collisions between a commercial truck and another vehicle caused 74 percent of all fatal truck accidents in 2015, and 78 percent of accidents that only resulted in property damage were due to collisions.
Speed has always been a major contributing factor in motor vehicle accidents, and in 2015, 64 percent of fatal truck accidents occurred in locations where the speed limit exceeded 50 miles per hour.
In fact, a CBSnews.com piece in 2015 pointed out the dangers of raising speed limits as it related to commercial trucks, because the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has warned that most truck tires are not rated to withstand speeds exceeding 75 mph.
The American Trucking Association (ATA) –– the industry’s largest trade group –– has sounded the alarm about increasing speed limits.
“Raising speed limits at the state level is a bad idea beyond 65 mph,” stated Dave Osiecki, ATA’s Executive Vice President.
But there are also some practical considerations that must be factored into any examination of fatal truck wrecks.
Per a piece on the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) website that was written after release of the FMCSA’s report, the sheer weight and length of commercial trucks does not provide truck drivers with any margin for error.
“Truck braking capability can be a factor in truck crashes,” part of the article read. “Loaded tractor-trailers take 20-40 percent farther than cars to stop, and the discrepancy is greater on wet and slippery roads or with poorly maintained brakes.”
The FMCSA is expected to release the full report in 2017, along with proposed regulations to stem the increase of fatal truck accidents.