In 2012, 317,000 motor vehicle crashes involving large trucks were reported to police in 2012, according to the latest Vital Signs report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). After dropping to 35-year lows in 2009, the number of crash fatalities of truck drivers or their passengers increased between 2009 and 2012. Approximately 700 drivers of large trucks or their passengers died in crashes in 2012, and an estimated 26,000 were injured. More than a third of the drivers who died were not wearing a seat belt.
About 2.6 million workers in the US drive trucks that weigh more than 10,000 pounds.
The Vital Signs report includes data from the National Survey of US Long-Haul Truck Driver Health and Injury, conducted by CDC at 32 truck stops along interstate highways across the United States in 2010. Key findings from the survey include:
- An estimated 14% of long-haul truck drivers reported not using a seat belt on every trip.
- More than one-third of long-haul truck drivers had been involved in one or more serious crashes during their driving careers.
- Long-haul truck drivers who reported not wearing seat belts also tended to engage in other unsafe driving behaviors such as speeding and committing moving violations. They were also more likely to work for an employer that did not have a written workplace safety program.
- Long-haul truck drivers who lived in a state with a primary seat belt law—the law that allows police to stop motorists solely for being unbelted—were more likely to report often using a seat belt.