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2014 truck accident data has been released

Big rigs are a common sight on Louisiana highways, and truck accidents are unfortunately frequently spotted as well. As part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is tasked with the issuance, administration and enforcement of safety regulations for commercial vehicles. The agency issues an annual report containing statistics on fatal as well as non-fatal accidents involving those vehicles, and earlier in 2016 the report covering 2014 was made available. It contained data that some have found to be curious.

According to the FMCSA, the number of trucks that were involved in fatal accidents in that year dropped by 5 percent from 2013. While this is a heartening statistic, the report also found that the number of non-fatal injuries incurred in truck accidents jumped by more than 20 percent from the preceding year. A variety of explanations have been offered for this seeming discrepancy.

A spokesman for the agency attributed it to relatively new safety technology such as forward collision warning sensors and automatic braking. He believes that this could result in rear-end collisions being more survivable than in the past. A far different theory was offered by an executive with the American Transportation Research Institute. He noted that federal regulations that were first in full force in 2014 and were meant in part to combat truck driver fatigue had the effect of putting more trucks on the road during morning rush hours as opposed to the middle of the night. More traffic is on the road at that time, which could mean more accidents. But the slower speeds during rush hours could make those accidents less deadly.

While some truck accidents are unavoidable or the fault of another motorist, many are caused by truck drivers who are distracted or impaired at the time. Occupants of other vehicles that a big rig collides with can incur catastrophic injuries, and an attorney could be of assistance in pursuing compensation from the negligent trucker and, where applicable, the trucking company itself.

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Chip Forstall
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