- Fatal crashes involving large trucks in Texas have long outpaced other states, but even when accounting for heavier traffic volumes there, the rate of those crashes still ranks comparatively high, according to federal data presented to the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee last week.
- Data for 2019–2021 showed such crashes in Texas claimed the lives of 579 people then 568 and 716, respectively. That most recent year means large truck-related fatalities were nearly twice as high as the second most problematic state, California.
- But when examining vehicle miles traveled of all motorists, smaller states such as New Mexico, Oklahoma and Arkansas crowd a top 10 list of the most problematic states — except for Texas, which ranked as the fifth highest. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration representatives said they’re trying to find out why.
While more populous states have heavier traffic volumes, including Texas, the Lone Star State might be coming across as an anomaly for this crash rate.
With Texas ranking highest on outright fatal large crashes as well as having a high fatality rate using vehicle mileage, FMCSA officials are analyzing the issue further.
“We’re drilling very closely into Texas to find out what’s going on,” Thomas Keane, associate administrator of the FMCSA’s Office of Research and Registration said.
Incorporating vehicle miles traveled can show the rate that accidents occur. That kind of analysis by federal statisticians reframes how dangerous states such as California, Florida and Georgia might truly be.
Other stats also suggest where the industry might want to focus its efforts as part of a Department of Transportation goal toward zero fatalities, where crashes can also harm businesses as they seek to deliver goods without problems.
The rate of fatal crashes involving buses and large trucks was improving in the ’90s and ’00s. But in 2010, it began rising and continued upward, according to the federal data presented by Jessica Powell, a statistician with FMCSA’s Analysis Division.
“Over the last 30 or even the last 40 years, this is really a success story,” Keane previously said for another presentation in 2021. “The last 10 years, this is a troubling trend that we should all be concerned about.”
From 2012–2021, a fatality rate based on vehicle miles traveled has risen nearly every year.