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Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts 2011 - Introduction

About the Report

This annual edition of Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts contains descriptive statistics about fatal, injury, and property damage only crashes involving large trucks and buses in 2011. Selected crash statistics on passenger vehicles are also presented for comparison purposes.

Data Sources

The information in this report was compiled by the Analysis Division of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The major sources for the data are described below:

  • Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). FARS, maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), is a census of fatal crashes involving motor vehicles traveling on public trafficways. FARS is recognized as the most reliable national crash database, but it contains information only on fatal crashes. A large truck is defined in FARS as a truck with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of more than 10,000 pounds. For more information on FARS, go to www.nhtsa.gov/FARS.
  • General Estimates System (GES). GES, also maintained by NHTSA, is a probability-based nationally representative sample of all police-reported fatal, injury, and property damage only crashes. The data from GES yield national estimates, calculated using a weighting procedure, but cannot give State-level estimates. Because GES is a sample of motor vehicle crashes, the results generated are estimates rounded to the nearest one thousand. The GES definition of a large truck is the same as the FARS definition. For more information on GES, go to www.nhtsa.gov/NASS.
  • Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS) Crash File. The MCMIS Crash File, maintained by FMCSA, contains data on trucks and buses in crashes that meet the SAFETYNET recommended threshold. A SAFETYNET reportable crash must involve a truck, used for commercial purposes, with a GVWR or gross combination weight rating greater than 10,000 pounds; or a commercial bus designed to transport more than eight people, including the driver. The crash must result in at least one fatality, at least one injury involving immediate medical attention away from the crash scene, or at least one vehicle disabled as a result of the crash and transported away from the crash scene. The crashes are reported by the States to FMCSA through the SAFETYNET computer software. The MCMIS Crash File is intended to be a census of trucks and buses involved in fatal, injury, and towaway crashes; however, some States do not report all FMCSA-eligible crashes, and some report more than those that are eligible. FMCSA continues to work with the States to improve data quality and reporting of eligible large truck and bus crashes to the MCMIS crash file.

FARS, GES, and MCMIS describe the events and details of motor vehicle crashes, but they do not include data on crash causation or fault.

  • Highway Statistics. Highway Statistics is an annual publication of the Office of Highway Policy Information of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). State agencies report the data, ranging from driver licensing to highway finance, and FHWA aggregates them to get national totals. This report takes vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and vehicle registrations from Table VM-1 of Highway Statistics, “Annual Vehicle Distance Traveled in Miles and Related Data.” Readers are warned to be careful of crash rate data based on the VMT numbers from FHWA. For the years 2007 through 2011 FHWA implemented an enhanced methodology for estimating VMT by vehicle type. The new methodology did not change the total VMT, but it did make a large difference in the number of miles traveled attributed to large trucks and buses. As a result it would be misleading to cite large truck and bus data trends that encompassed both the years before 2007 and the years from 2007 through 2011. For more information on VMT data, go to www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/statistics/2011.

Organization of the Report

This year’s report is organized into four chapters: Trends, Crashes, Vehicles, and People. The Trends chapter shows data for 2011 in the context of available historical data for past years. In the other chapters, the 2011 data are shown in different ways, according to what is being counted. The Crashes chapter counts numbers of crashes; the Vehicles chapter counts vehicles in crashes; and the People chapter counts persons of all types involved in crashes. Four different types of counts are shown:

  • Crashes: Numbers of crashes involving various vehicle types.
  • Vehicles in Crashes: Numbers of vehicles involved in crashes. These counts may be larger than the number of crashes (fatal, injury, or property damage only), because more than one vehicle may be involved in a single crash.
  • People in Crashes: Numbers of people killed or injured in crashes. These counts generally are larger than the number of crashes (fatal or injury), because more than one person may be killed or injured in a single crash. People killed or injured may be occupants of a truck, occupants of another vehicle, or nonmotorists (pedestrians or pedalcyclists).
  • Drivers in Crashes: Numbers of vehicle drivers involved in crashes. These counts generally are equal to the numbers of vehicles involved in crashes.

Note: Data Revisions

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) implemented an enhanced methodology for estimating registered vehicles and vehicle miles traveled by vehicle type beginning with data from 2007. As a result, involvement rates may differ, and in some cases significantly, from earlier years.

Updated: Sunday, March 16, 2014
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