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Truck accident fatalities on the rise

Louisiana readers may have heard that there were fewer overall traffic fatalities in 2017 than there were in 2016. However, according to a new government report, there was an increase in the number of traffic deaths caused by large trucks.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that traffic accident deaths dropped by 1.8 percent in 2017 with deaths involving passenger vehicles, vans, motorcycles, light pickup trucks and bicycles all decreasing from the previous year. In contrast, fatalities caused by tractor-trailer crashes spiked by 5.8 percent in 2017 while deaths caused by large straight trucks shot up 18.7 percent.

According to traffic safety experts, the increase in truck-related deaths is partly due to the improving U.S. economy. A healthy economy means more trucks are on U.S. roads, which increases the risk of motor vehicle accidents. The increase in deaths was also linked to a lack of seat belt use among truck occupants. The NHTSA report found that 16 percent of truck drivers and passengers who died in accidents were not wearing seat belts. Finally, statistics show that more truck drivers involved in crashes are testing positive for opioids, marijuana and other prescription medications that can cause impairment. This is partly attributed to the increasing legalization of marijuana across the country.

When a negligent or impaired truck driver causes an auto accident, injured victims may be left with severe injuries. In order to recover medical expenses, lost wages and other losses, it might be necessary for these victims to file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver who caused the crash. Victims may learn more about their legal options by contacting a personal injury attorney to discuss their case.

Source: Fleet Owner, “Fewer die from most vehicle crashes, but not large trucks or in urban areas“, Aaron Marsh, Oct. 4, 2018

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