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FMCSA releases sobering fatal truck accident data

Fatal accidents involving buses and semi-tractor trailers are becoming a worryingly common occurrence in Louisiana and around the country according to figures from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The agency's Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts report reveals that the number of large commercial trucks and buses involved in deadly crashes increased by 8 percent to 4,311 in 2015. The number of fatal accidents buses and large trucks were involved in for each 100 million miles driven also increased by 8 percent from 1.34 in 2014 to 1.45 in 2015 according to the report.

The FMCSA report is the latest in a series of accident fatality studies to concern road safety advocates. The National Safety Council reported in February 2016 that road deaths in the United States surged by 7 percent in 2015, and this increase was largely put down to increased levels of vehicle traffic. However, the number of buses and semi-tractor trailers on the nation's roads remained virtually unchanged according to the FMCSA. The distance covered by buses in 2015 increased by 1.4 percent according to the agency, and the miles traveled by large trucks rose by only 0.3 percent.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began keeping fatal accident statistics in 1975, and the deadliest year on record for bus and large truck accidents according to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System was 2005 when 5,231 large commercial vehicles crashed. While improvements in safety systems and stricter federal regulations helped to lower that figure by more than a third between 2005 and 2009, it has been rising ever since.

While many commercial vehicle accidents are caused by reckless or negligent truck drivers, logistics companies may also be held responsible in certain situations. Personal injury attorneys may file lawsuits against trucking companies when their clients have been harmed due to negligent maintenance or lax supervision of their drivers.

Source: National Public Radio, "2015 Traffic Fatalities Rose By Largest Percent In 50 Years, Safety Group Says", Bill Chappell, Feb. 18, 2016

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