How many more people have to die from Death by Underride before “we” do something about it?!

Recently, NHTSA announced statistics for 2016 traffic fatalities:

  • 37,461 people killed in crashes on U.S. roadways in 2016
  • Up 5.6% from 2015
  • Tucked in the back of the report, if you look for it, you will see that there were 4,317 fatalities in crashes involving large trucks — up 5.4% from 2015, the highest since 2007.
  • Of those, 722 (16.7%) were occupants of large trucks and 10.8% were nonoccupants.
  • 72.4% of the truck crash fatalities were occupants of other vehicles, or 3,125.5 (Do I round that up to 3126? Now that really bothers me because this is about people who died in a crash with a truck last year and not merely statistics!)

If you look at NHTSA’s press release, here is their summary:

The 2016 national data shows that:

  • Distraction-related deaths (3,450 fatalities) decreased by 2.2 percent;
  • Drowsy-driving deaths (803 fatalities) decreased by 3.5 percent;
  • Drunk-driving deaths (10,497 fatalities) increased by 1.7 per­cent;
  • Speeding-related deaths (10,111 fatalities) increased by 4.0 percent;
  • Unbelted deaths (10,428 fatalities) increased by 4.6 percent;
  • Motorcyclist deaths (5,286 fatalities – the largest number of motorcyclist fatalities since 2008) increased by 5.1 percent;
  • Pedestrian deaths (5,987 fatalities – the highest number since 1990) increased by 9.0 percent; and
  • Bicyclist deaths (840 fatalities – the highest number since 1991) increased by 1.3 percent.

Do you see the 4,317 truck crash fatalities mentioned there? I don’t! Yet they accounted for 11.5% of the total traffic fatalities.

Is that indicative of what I continue to observe year after year — that truck crash fatalities are considered merely a transportation issue and left to the trucking industry to solve? And so potential lives saved always lose out in any cost/benefit analysis because “CBA is weighted in favor of the regulated industry and against health, safety and environmental protections”.

And we all know who ends up paying the price for this unresolved public health & safety crisis.

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