The trucking industry is safer than ever, according to truck Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) figures just released by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and previously released National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) data on crashes. The truck-involved fatality rate in 2008 declined 12.3 percent to 1.86 per 100 million miles from 2.12 per 100 million miles in 2007. This decline marks the largest year-to-year drop ever and the fifth consecutive year the fatality rate has improved.

‘These latest figures underscore the trucking industry’s tremendous commitment to safety,’ said Bill Graves, President and CEO of the American Trucking Associations (ATA). ‘We continue to improve our safety performance while operating under the Hours-of-Service rules.’

Since new Hours-of-Service regulations took effect in 2005, the truck-involved fatality rate has come down more than 20 percent and is at its lowest since the U.S. Department of Transportation began keeping those records in 1975. The fatality rate has declined more than 66 percent since 1975.

Persons injured in large truck crashes went from 44.4 per 100 million miles’to 39.6, an 11 percent reduction.‘Injury rates are based on the FHWA’s figures that report VMT by truck increased in 2008 to 227.45 billion miles from 227.06 billion in 2007. During that same time, NHTSA reports that the actual number of truck-involved injuries fell to 101,000 from 90,000.