Gibbs & Fuerst, LLP

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Truck accident fatalities up in 2017

Many California drivers feel uneasy sharing the road with tractor-trailers and other large trucks, fearing what would happen if a truck collided with them. Unfortunately, newly released federal statistics show that uneasiness could be justified.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 4,762 people were killed in traffic accidents involving large trucks in 2017, which is a 9 percent increase over the 4,370 who lost their lives in 2016. Meanwhile, multi-vehicle accidents involving large trucks jumped by 8.8 percent, and the number of truck drivers and truck passengers killed in accidents spiked by 16 percent. The NHTSA classifies large trucks as those that weigh 10,000 or more pounds.

While truck accident fatalities increased in 2017, all other traffic deaths decreased. For example, passenger vehicle deaths dropped 1.4 percent when compared to 2016, motorcycle fatalities fell by 3.1 percent, pedestrian deaths decreased by 1.7 percent and bicyclist deaths dropped by 8.1 percent. Overall, 37,133 people died on U.S. roads in 2017, which is a 1.8 percent decrease from the 37,806 who died in 2016. A representative of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said that many of the truck fatalities involved vehicles that weighed less than 26,000 pounds. The representative also said that the number of fatalities involving trucks weighing between 10,000 and 14,000 pounds doubled in 2017.

Families who lose a loved one in a truck accident may wish to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against the truck driver or the driver's trucking company. If successful, this type of suit might help the family obtain compensation for funeral expenses, loss of income, loss of companionship and other crash-related losses. A personal injury attorney may help prepare the claim and work to negotiate a fair settlement.

Source: Overdrive Online, "Large truck traffic fatalities increased in 2017, bucking overall trend," Matt Cole, Oct. 3, 2018

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