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Truck fatalities down but crashes up

Puzzling results from a federal survey of truck crashes has inspired discussion among industry groups in Pennsylvania and across the nation as they try figure out what happened to the accident rate in 2014. The number of trucks that were involved in fatal accidents nationwide decreased by 5 percent decrease from the previous year. However, injury crashes involving trucks rose by 21 percent over the same period.

Several reasons for the increase in truck injury accidents accompanied by a decrease in fatal ones were advanced by individuals working within the trucking industry. The growing prevalence of automatic braking systems, electronic stability control, forward collision warning and other advanced safety features were mentioned as possible causes for the lessening death rate. These devices may have made more truck crashes that might have been fatal before survivable.

Another explanation is that a change to federal hours of service regulations that was fully implemented in 2014 has had the effect of having more trucks on the road during morning rush hours instead of the middle of the night. The congestion could produce more accidents, but reduced speeds could lessen their severity.

Truck accidents can result in catastrophic injuries to occupants of other vehicles that are far smaller and lighter. Injured victims are often forced to spend extensive time in the hospital and might be unable to return to work for a long time thereafter. If it can be determined that the accident was the result of negligence, such as an impaired or distracted truck driver or improper truck maintenance, an attorney could help a victim pursue compensation for the losses that have been sustained.

Source: Overdrive Online, "Fatalities down, injuries way up. What gives?", Max Heine, May 2, 2016

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