Fatalities related to accidents involving large trucks increased 3.1% to 5,190 in 2004, according to a preliminary traffic safety annual assessment conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). A NHTSA spokesperson told Fleet Owner that fatality rates based on truck miles traveled is not available.

“There has been an increase in truck traffic in 2004 compared with 2003,” Bob Inderbitzen, director of safety and compliance for the National Private Truck Council told Fleet Owner.

Overall fatality rates dropped to 1.46 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 2004, compared with 1.48 in 2003.

“Drivers are safer today on our nation’s highways than they have ever been, in part because of the safer cars, higher safety belt use and stronger safety laws that this department has helped champion,” said Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta.