Trucking Fatalities Increase for Fourth Year in a Row

(Bloomberg) — The number of people killed in large-truck crashes increased for the fourth straight year, bucking a trend of overall improvement in U.S. highway safety.

Fatalities rose to 3,964 people last year, which includes truckers, pedestrians and the occupants of vehicles that collided with the big rigs, the U.S. Transportation Department said today in its annual traffic-injury report. That’s up 0.5 percent from 2012, even though highway deaths involving all types of vehicles fell 3.1 percent to 32,719.

Regulators said new federal standards requiring stability-control technology to prevent rollovers, and future rules that may require stronger underride guards on the backs of semi-trailer can help reverse the trend.

“We do know tired truckers are a risk on our roads,” David Friedman, the deputy administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said today in a telephone briefing with reporters. “Any effort to reduce the number of people who are tired or drowsy on the road can have an impact.”

The report was issued a week after Congress suspended part of a set of regulations intended to ensure truckers get adequate rest.

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