Most of the 5,000+ truck and bus-related crash deaths a year are human error

Data Desk

DENVER (KDVR) — Fatal crashes involving large trucks and buses such as the one caused by Rogel Aquilera-Mederos claim thousands of lives a year — typically, not the lives of the people in the large trucks or buses.

On average, there have been 5,035 fatalities per year from crashes involving large trucks and buses from 1975-2019. Those deaths per year had been declining in number until 2009. Since then, they’ve gone up 1,300 deaths per year.

The large majority of people killed in these crashes are the passengers of the non-truck and non-bus vehicles involved.

On average, only 16% of the deaths from large truck or bus crashes are the passengers of the truck or bus.

Human error is the single largest factor in large truck crashes.

More than three-quarters of truck crashes are attributed to human error rather than the environment or the vehicle itself.

Forty-two percent of large truck crashes are caused by a driver issue such as speeding or driving too aggressively, according to a crash causation report from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Another 35% are caused by inattentiveness, while 3% are caused by poor performance such as drowsiness or sickness.

Vehicles issues such as the brake failure in the Mederos case make up only 8% of fatal truck crashes.

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