The number of highway fatalities in crashes involving large trucks dropped again last year according to a study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released.

The total number of traffic fatalities in large truck involved crashes decreased 4.4%, from 5,027 in 2006 to 4,808 in 2007. The number of fatalities is at its lowest level since 1992. Truck occupant fatalities decreased 0.4% and fatalities for occupants of other vehicles involved in the crash dropped an impressive 5.2%. Fatalities for people who were not a vehicle occupant, such as cyclists or pedestrians, decreased 4.7%.

This good news comes as many drivers are reducing both their mileage and speed to reduce fuel consumption.

Moreover, some of the decline in fatalities may be attributed to trucks utilizing more safety technologies such as collision avoidance, lane departure warning, stability control and brake stroke monitoring systems. ATA is supporting a measure currently under consideration by Congress that would give tax incentives to carriers who adopt these safety technologies.

“The statistics from this most recent study show that the efforts of law enforcement agencies to focus on the most likely causes of crashes, such as speeding and impaired driving, are making our highways safer,” said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves. He also noted that this continued safety improvement occurred under the new federal hours-of-service regulations, and the new figures add to the growing evidence that the regulations are working and should be retained.

“While we are pleased that overall fatalities have decreased,” Graves added, “we still have room to improve safe driving habits of truck drivers and passenger vehicle drivers.”

ATA’s comprehensive safety initiative includes many efforts to make our highways safer for all drivers. The Be Ready, Be Buckled safety belt education program and ATA’s Share the Road program, which educates motorists on how to drive safely around large trucks, are just two examples of the trucking industry’s commitment to make highways safer for all drivers.

ATA has also called for a national speed limit of 65 miles per hour, and has asked the US Department of Transportation to require speed governors to be set at 68 miles per hour on trucks at the time of manufacture. ATA is also encouraging states to focus on better enforcement of traffic laws that prevent unsafe driving actions around large trucks.