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2017’s U.S. Truck Casualties Saw a 16% Increase, But Why?

Published on Oct 23, 2018 at 2:03 pm in Trucking Accident.

On October 3, 2018, the Department of Transportation (DOT) reported that roadway fatalities were down two percent in 2017; however, that did not indicate an across-the-board trend because the casualties resulting from truck accident went up significantly.

DOT released the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) numbers but cautioned against thinking the decline pointed to a continuing pattern. This is because the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reported large truck occupant fatalities jumped 16 percent from 2016 to 2017 – from 725 to 841 deaths. Approximately 40 percent of those occupants were not wearing seatbelts, despite continued education efforts.

As defined by FARS, a large truck weighs more than 10,000 pounds. This includes non-commercial, intrastate-restrict vehicles that may not fall under FMCSA’s trucking regulations, and commercial, intestate-operated trucks. For trucks between 10,000 to 14,000 pounds, the number involved in fatal crashes doubled from 2016 to 2017. Trucks exceeding 26,000 pounds were involved in 126 more fatal crashes in 2017, which is a 3.8 percent increase from the previous year.

While the FMCSA cannot identify a precise cause of the right, the chief, Ray Martinez, suspects it may have to do with the number of vehicles on the road:

“More vehicles — particularly commercial trucks — are traveling the nation’s roadways,” Martinez said. “For example, USDOT’s Freight Transportation Services Index […] rose 4% in June from May, rising for the second consecutive month, to reach an all-time high. It is somewhat of a corollary that as the economy grows, more vehicle miles will be traveled … and the potential for crashes, injuries does increase.”

Other factors, including driver fatigue, alcohol consumption, distracted driving, and speeding are likely to play a role in the increased number of semi-related deaths. Increased education and trainings for truck drivers and trucking companies could have the potential to decrease the casualty numbers.

If you find yourself to be the victim of a tractor-trailer crash, our Louisville, KY truck accident lawyers are here for you. We will provide you with the representation you deserve, so you can receive the compensation you need to recover from the accident. Contact us for a free review of your claim and more information on your legal rights and options.