Truck crash statistics rise, but trending down


Some 220 people were killed in crashes involving heavy vehicles in 2014

Truck crash statistics rise, but trending down
220 people were killed in crashes involving heavy vehicles last year

 

The Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport, and Regional Economics (BITRE) says all classes of heavy vehicles were involved in more road fatalities last year.

Its latest statistical report, issued last month, shows 220 people were killed in crashes involving heavy vehicles in 2014, up from 186 in 2013. Over half lost their lives in crashes involving articulated trucks, while 39 per cent were killed in crashes involving heavy rigid trucks.

While the increase may be cause for alarm, BITRE highlights the downward trend over the last ten years.  

"Over the last decade, annual deaths from crashes involving heavy vehicles (articulated truck, heavy rigid truck or bus) decreased by 20.3 per cent, from 276 in 2005 to 220 in 2014," the report notes. "The estimated trend over the decade is a reduction of 3.2 per cent per year."

Most of the victims of crashes involving heavy vehicles are drivers and passengers in the vehicles involved. Among these, 73.8 per cent were in light vehicles (cars and small vans) when the crash occurred. A further 13.9 per cent of fatalities last year were pedestrians; 8.1 per cent were motorcyclists; and 3.1 per cent were (pedal) cyclists.

While the number of fatal incidents is falling over the longer term, the number of serious injuries from crashes involving heavy vehicles is increasing. Approximately 1550 people are hospitalised from crashes involving heavy vehicles each year – a rising figure, but not greatly so.

"Over the last eight years there appears to be a slight increasing trend (in injury rates)," the report says.

This may be the result of a greater safety focus mitigating the life threatening nature of some crash incidents.

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