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NHTSA statistics underscore danger of truck accidents

From the recent crash that seriously injured actor Tracy Morgan to the less publicized collisions that each day change peoples' lives forever, it isn't difficult to find examples of devastating truck accidents. These crashes are all too common, despite strict state and federal regulations of the trucking industry.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), truck accidents caused 3,921 deaths and injured 104,000 people in 2012. Of those who died, 73 percent were in vehicles other than large trucks, and 18 percent were truck occupants. Clearly, passenger vehicles are no match for the speed and immense size and weight of large commercial vehicles.

It is only appropriate that the trucking industry is strictly regulated. Trucking companies are required to screen truck drivers for proper qualifications and any previous traffic or safety violations, and trucking companies must test drivers for substance abuse. In addition, a trucking company could be held liable for establishing schedules that require truck drivers to work long hours that result in truck driver fatigue.

Likewise, truck drivers are required to accurately record their hours of service and take rest breaks to prevent the risk of a fatigue-related accident.

In other cases, materials are improperly loaded in tractor-trailers, or a piece of truck equipment is defective. Both of these issues can lead to extremely serious collisions.

After a person has been injured in a truck accident, it is important to conduct an in-depth investigation and identify all of the potentially liable parties. For more on these matters, please see our previous post, "Who can be held liable for a truck accident?"

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