DOT: Fewer died in large truck crashes in Æ09
Highway fatalities involving commercial trucks declined 20 percent to 3,380 from 4,245 in 2009, the lowest number since the Department of Transportation began tracking the data in 1975.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration touted stepped up enforcement and safety awareness efforts for the improved results, but there were also fewer trucks on the road as the recession reduced freight demand.
Overall, highway deaths fell 9.7 percent to a 60-year low of 33,808 in 2009. The DOT said the decline in traffic fatalities occurred even while estimated vehicle miles traveled increased 0.2 percent over 2008 levels.
The death rate of 1.13 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled was also the lowest on record, and down from 1.26 deaths in 2008.
The largest percentage reduction of people killed was among large-truck occupants (26 percent) compared to any other vehicle category.
DOT officials said they would continue to make safety a top priority to further lower deaths and injuries on the nation's highways.