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NHTSA reports fatality, injury uptick in latest truck crash stats

5,936 people killed in crashes involving medium- and heavy-duty trucks in 2022

Truck safety advocates want more safety oversight from DOT. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

WASHINGTON — Deaths and injuries resulting from crashes involving large trucks are increasing at a slower rate, but safety advocates assert regulators still are not doing enough to address the problem.

According to the latest estimates published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 5,936 people were killed in crashes involving medium- and heavy-duty trucks weighing over 10,000 lbs. (weight classes 3-8), a 2% increase from 5,821 deaths in 2021. That compares with estimates by the agency last year showing a 17% increase between 2020 and 2021.

NHTSA also estimated 160,608 injuries involved in such crashes in 2022, a 3.7% increase from 2021. That compared with a 9% increase in injuries between 2020 and 2021.

Despite the slower death and injury rates, the increasing numbers are “unacceptable,” according to the Truck Safety Coalition, a victim advocates group.

Source: NHTSA’s “Traffic Safety Facts,” April 2024

TSC noted that NHTSA’s latest data represents a 75% increase in truck crash fatalities since 2009. “Despite passenger vehicles being safer than ever, 97% of fatalities occur to passenger vehicle occupants in large truck crashes,” the group stated.

TSC Board President Tami Friedrich called on U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg “to take action and urgently proceed with rulemaking to require the use of speed limiters and automatic emergency braking in large trucks as soon as possible” — rulemakings strongly opposed by owner-operators. “No one else needs to die because of bureaucratic inaction.”

The group also urged DOT to require rear and side underride guards on all commercial trucks, and pushed FMCSA to initiate rulemaking requiring a knowledge test for new carriers to show they understand safety rules and regulations.

In addition, “existing safety measures must be protected, and industry-friendly rollbacks must be resisted, such as removing any requirements for direct supervision of commercial learner’s permit drivers who lack experience driving dangerous large trucks,” TSC stated.

Click for more FreightWaves articles by John Gallagher.


  1. KV Owner Op

    She just wants to put all of the responsibility on the truckers and not the driving public. 8 out of 10 cars that pass me are on the phone either looking at something, or texting. The driving public needs more education on driving on the highway with big trucks. Too often they will cut you off to save a truck length in heavy traffic….not thinking or caring what the truckers they just cut off has to do to adjust to the move he just made.

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John Gallagher

Based in Washington, D.C., John specializes in regulation and legislation affecting all sectors of freight transportation. He has covered rail, trucking and maritime issues since 1993 for a variety of publications based in the U.S. and the U.K. John began business reporting in 1993 at Broadcasting & Cable Magazine. He graduated from Florida State University majoring in English and business.