Wyoming and Arkansas are the deadliest states for truck crashes, according to Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways, a safety group that has called for tougher federal regulation to reduce fatalities resulting from big rig truck crashes. The number of nationwide fatalities each week has remained above 100 nationwide for years.
The safest states for truck crashes were Rhode Island and Massachusetts, based on the number of fatalities per 100,000 residents during 2005, the most recent year with complete figures.
In 2005 Wyoming had 6.09 deaths in big truck crashes per 100,000 residents, followed by Arkansas at 4.17, Oklahoma at 3.41, New Mexico at 3.27, Mississippi at 3.12, and West Virginia at 3.03. Colorado fell mid-range in the list of states, with 1.5 deaths per 100,000 residents.
The safest state, Rhode Island, had 0.09 fatalities per 100,000 residents, followed by Massachusetts at 0.38, Connecticut at 0.48, District of Columbia at 0.54, Hawaii at 0.71, Alaska at 0.75, New York at 0.76, New Hampshire at 0.84 and Delaware at 0.95.
The largest increases in truck fatality rates between 2004 and 2005 came in Oklahoma, South Carolina and Louisiana. The greatest drops were in Alabama, Indiana and South Dakota.
In 1999, when the federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration agency was created, 5,380 people died in crashes with big trucks, in 2005 the number of fatalities was 5,212. For the past four years, the number of fatalities has been rising. One explanation for the recent rise in fatalities points the finger at the motor carrier administration for increasing the number of hours a driver can operate a truck by 28 percent since 2003, up to as much as 88 hours over an eight-day tour of duty. See Big Rigs Pose Big Risk.
Colorado – 2005 Large Truck Crash Facts:
65 Large Trucks Involved in Fatal Crashes
68 Fatalities in Crashes Involving Large Trucks
2,429 Large Trucks Involved in Non-Fatal Crashes
654 Large Trucks Involved in Injury Crashes
856 Injuries in Crashes Involving Large Trucks
Truck Safety Coalition
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration