In 2017, 37,133 people died in motor vehicle crashes, a 2 percent decline from the prior year. The dip reversed two consecutive years of increases. Preliminary estimates indicate the downward trend is continuing through the first half of this year, according to NHTSA.
Large truck fatalities rose 9 percent to 4,761, an increase of 392 lives lost over the prior year. About 1,300 of the deaths were truckers. The remaining 72 percent occurred in the other vehicle involved in the collision.
About 40 percent of truck occupants killed were not wearing seat belts.
The biggest increase in fatalities occurred in trucks weighing 10,000 to 14,000 pounds, including dual rear-wheel pickup trucks.
Deaths in over-the-road tractor-trailers that haul freight rose 5.8 percent over 2016. Those trucks exceed 26,000 pounds and must follow Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration rules.
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