A new report called the 2016 Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts shows that the number of commercial trucks involved in fatal crashes rose by 3 percent in the year in question. This was published by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the agency that regulates the U.S. trucking industry. Truckers in Pennsylvania will therefore want to know more about this increase and what the FMCSA thinks is causing it.

In 2015, there were 4,074 fatal truck crashes. This number increased to 4,213 in 2016. The actual number of victims also rose from 4,094 to 4,317. Of that number, 665 were truck occupants in 2015. Truck occupants constituted 722 victims in 2016. While over 60 percent of the accidents took place in rural areas, 27 percent were on interstate highways. Many took place on rural interstate highways. Also, one in every three fatal crashes took place between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.

In 73 percent of crashes, the “pre-crash event” was some other vehicle, person, animal or object that was either in the same lane as the truck or encroaching upon it. Speeding on the trucker’s or the other driver’s part was the number one cause, with distracted driving coming in second. However, the American Trucking Associations claims that the long-term trend over the last 20 years has been positive.

In the event of an 18-wheeler accident, the victim (or any eligible dependent if the victim dies) can file for compensation against the guilty party’s trucking company. Companies can be aggressive in denying payment, however, which makes it important to hire legal counsel. A lawyer can help negotiate for a suitable settlement.