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August 2016

Posted By John Hausladen, Monday, August 1, 2016
Updated: Monday, February 6, 2017

Trucking Safety Report Card — While it is soon back to school for most students, the trucking industry just received its official Minnesota report card in the form of the Minnesota Motor Vehicle Crash Facts 2015. This annual document, produced by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, breaks down all traffic crashes that took place in the state over a twelve-month period. Section V details all truck crashes, which do NOT include pickup trucks and vans.

Total Crashes Down, Fatalities and Injuries Flat — Year over year, total truck crashes dropped 16 percent. That’s pretty impressive until you read that almost all of the reduction came in property- damage-only crashes. Fatal crashes stayed flat at 57 for the year, while fatalities dropped down one to 62. That’s 62 drivers, 62 trucking companies and 62 families of survivors who have to live with these results. When it comes to highway safety, one fatal crash is one too many.

Contributing Factors — The contributing factors portion of the report gives a break down between behaviors of car and truck drivers. “… contributing factors listed by officers are very similar for truck and non-truck drivers. For example, driver inattention or distraction was most frequently cited for truck drivers (18 percent of the time) as well as for non-truck drivers (17 percent of the time). However, non-truck drivers drive too fast and fail to yield more often than truck drivers. Illegal or unsafe speed was reported for ten percent of other vehicles but only eight percent of the trucks. Failure to yield was reported for 15 percent of the other vehicles but only ten percent of the trucks.”

Other Statistics of Note — Several other statistics pop off the page when it comes to truck-related crashes:
• Less than one-quarter of one percent of any type of chemical impairment was reported for truck drivers
• The vast majority of truck crashes occur during daytime work hours
• Most truck crashes occur on dry roads in clear weather; however, the more the severe crashes happen on wet or snow-covered surfaces
• Rural crashes are the most deadly, with 99 percent of fatal truck crashes occurring in rural Minnesota

Controlling What We Can — Trucking’s commitment to safety is clear. We have the best equipment on the road, piloted by the best trained drivers anywhere and assisted by the best technology available. Yet crashes still happen. Yes, we can point to the statistics showing most crashes are caused by cars running into us. But we can’t control what the other vehicles do. We can, however, continue to focus on what is under our control. Getting good rest, planning reasonable trips, driving the speed limit and paying attention are all within our power to control. Let’s all do our part and create a safer year on the roads.

For a complete copy of the report, go to

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