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FMCSA report reveals alarming rise in fatal truck crashes

Federal data suggests that the roads in North Carolina and around the country have become more dangerous in recent years. The surge in traffic accident deaths observed in 2015 and 2016 represented the highest two-year increase in road fatalities in more than half a century according to the National Safety Council, and statistics from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration indicate that fatal collisions involving large commercial vehicles are becoming worryingly common.

The federal safety watchdog's Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts report reveals that 4,311 buses and tractor-trailers were involved in fatal accidents in 2015. This figure, which represents an 8 percent year-over-year increase, has risen by an alarming 26 percent since 2009. A similar increase was also noted in what the FMCSA refers to as the large truck involvement rate. This is the number of crashes that tractor-trailers are involved in for every 100 million miles traveled.

Road safety advocacy groups have blamed the surge in road deaths on increased traffic congestion caused by plentiful jobs and affordable fuel, but the FMCSA report indicates that it is personal vehicles and not commercial trucks that are clogging up the nation's roads. According to the FMCSA, the number of miles covered by semi-tractor trailers in 2015 increased by a barely noticeable 0.3 percent.

Fatal truck accidents are generally investigated thoroughly by law enforcement, and the resulting police reports can provide valuable information to attorneys who are representing the surviving family members of those who lost their lives. Evidence of speeding, distraction or impairment can be used to establish negligence in wrongful death lawsuits filed against truck drivers and their employers.

Source: Fox News, "2016 traffic deaths jump to highest level in nearly a decade", Associated Press, Feb. 16, 2017

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