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Volume 13: A Guide for Reducing Collisions Involving Heavy Trucks

5,000 Die Each Year In Crashes With Heavy Trucks

One of every eight people who die on the nation's roadways is killed in a crash involving a heavy Truck. Most are occupants of other vehicles or non-occupants, such as pedestrians and bicyclists. Another 130,000 people are injured in crashes with heavy trucks.

Over the last two decades truck involvement in fatal crashes has declined by more than half as a function of vehicle miles traveled, from 5.0 per 100 million VMT in 1980 to 2.1 in 2001. Nevertheless, the rate is still much higher than the 1.3 rate for passenger vehicles. While heavy trucks are over-represented in fatal crashes, analysis of driver-related factors in crashes between large trucks and passenger vehicles indicates that passenger vehicle driver errors or other driver factors are cited in more than two-thirds of the crashes. Still, much can be done to reduce fatal crashes involving heavy trucks.


  • Reduce fatigue-related crashes.
  • Strengthen the CDL program.
  • Increase knowledge about sharing the road.
  • Improve maintenance of heavy trucks.
  • Identify and correct unsafe roadway infrastructure and operational characteristics.
  • Improve and enhance truck safety data.
  • Promote industry safety initiatives.

Download this guide: http://gulliver.trb.org/publications/nchrp/nchrp_rpt_500v13.pdf

NCHRP 500-13
Collisions Involving Heavy Trucks

Factors contributing to truck crashes include other drivers, truck driver errors, road and environmental characteristics, vehicle condition and operational practices. Across the traffic picture generally, safety can be enhanced by improvements to drivers, vehicles, the roadway environment, and improved fleet safety management. This guide describes a variety of initiatives that focus on those four areas.

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