Truck crashes prove the exception to decrease in traffic deaths

In 2017, the total number of people who died in traffic accidents decreased 1.8 percent from 2016's numbers, going from 37,806 to 37,133 fatalities. Passenger vehicle, motorcyclist and pedestrian deaths saw a respective decline of 1.4, 3.1 and 1.7 percent. Speeding-related deaths dropped 5.6 percent and bicyclist deaths 8.1 percent. Ohio residents will agree that these are positive developments.

One factor, though, bucked the overall downward trend: large truck traffic fatalities. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has explained as much in its report on 2017 car crash trends, which was culled from the data in its Fatality Analysis Reporting System.

There were 9 percent more fatal accidents involving large trucks with gross vehicle weight ratings greater than 10,000 pounds with the number going from 4,369 in 2016 to 4,761 in 2017. There were 280 more fatal multi-vehicle accidents that involved large trucks.

In trucks weighing between 10,000 and 14,000 pounds, the number of fatal crashes doubled. Since most of the trucks weighed less than 26,000 pounds, they may not have been regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, according to the FMCSA's administrator, who commented on NHTSA's report during a conference call.

Car occupants and nonoccupants made up 3,920 of the 4,761 fatalities, which was a 7.6 percent increase over 2016. More startling is how large truck occupants saw 16 percent more fatalities.

There are several factors that contribute to this trend, one of them being negligence behind the wheel. If truckers are negligent, those who incur injuries may be able to seek damages. They have two years from the date of the accident to file their claim against the trucking company, and they will want to do so with proper legal assistance. Columbus, Ohio, truck accident injury lawyers can have professionals can gather proof against the trucker before negotiating for a settlement.

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