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Who Are These Truck Drivers Anyway?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) are two of the federal agencies charged with keeping statistics about accidents involving tractor-trailers. Late last year, these agencies published Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts: Early Release, which provides some interesting statistics about the age of truck drivers involved in trucking accidents. 

If you think that most fatal accidents involve younger, inexperienced truck drivers or older truck drivers, you are wrong. Only 4 percent of fatal crashes involved drivers younger than age 25. Drivers older than age 65 accounted for only 5.8 percent of fatalities. The most fatal crashes involved truck drivers between ages 36 and 55, who accounted for 56.9 percent of all accidents with fatalities. Not surprisingly, there are many more truck drivers in these age groups than older and younger drivers. Therefore the frequency of drivers being involved in a fatal accident appears to have little connection with the age of the truck driver. Because most truck drivers are between ages 36 and 55, they are involved in the most traffic fatalities. There was no difference between male and female drivers. Statistics for bus drivers involved in fatalities showed the same. Most bus drivers are between ages 36 and 65, and they account for the most accidents.

However, the statistics for fatal accidents involving automobiles had a different statistical breakdown. The number of persons killed in accidents with an automobile was heavily skewed toward the younger age groups. The 18-to-25-year-old age group suffered more fatalities than any other with 21 percent of the total deaths. The next highest group was 26-to-35-year-olds with 15.9 percent. Drivers older than age 65 did well with just more than 8 percent.

So according to the early figures of the NHTSA and FMCSA for 2009, age does not appear to be much of a factor in which tractor-trailer drivers are involved in fatal accidents. The same cannot be said for passenger vehicles, where those younger than age 35, and especially younger than age 25, are involved in more fatal accidents than any other age group.