There were 2.3 large truck fatalities per 100-million truck miles traveled in 2005, according to a preliminary estimate by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). That rate is the same as it was in 2003 and 2004.

According to the latest data from the Dept. of Transportation (DOT), the actual number of truck fatalities in 2005 was 5,212, down from 5,235 in 2004.

According to the “Large Truck Crash Causation Study” released by the agency last March, 87% of truck-auto crashes were a result of passenger-car and/or truck driver behavior, leading safety experts to renew their emphasis on addressing at-risk drivers.

See FMCSA study cites drivers as top reason for crashes

Bob Inderbitzen, director of safety & compliance for the National Private Truck Council, told FleetOwner that roadside inspections still place too much emphasis on the vehicle and not enough on the driver.

“We’ll have to spend less time paying attention to vehicle and more on the driver so [we] can get more drivers in violation off the road,” Inderbitzen said, adding that this is starting to change. “It will be interesting to see what the 2006 and 2007 statistics look like once that shift in focus takes effect.”

To view the latest data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, go to www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/pdf/nrd-30/ncsa/ppt/2006/810639.pdf

To view FMCSA’s progress report, go to www.fmcsa.dot.gov/facts-research/facts-figures/analysis-statistics/MCSPR-06-30-06.htm

To comment on this article, write to Terrence Nguyen at tnguyen@fleetowner.com