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FMCSA report reveals increase in deadly truck accidents

The number of large trucks involved in fatal accidents around the country increased by 8 percent in 2015 from the previous year according to data released by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The federal agency's annual Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts report indicates that both the number of deadly truck accidents, many of which were in Ohio, and the number of fatal crashes per 100 million miles covered by large commercial vehicles increased as well between 2014 and 2015.

Police responded to the scene of more than 3,500 fatal truck accidents in 2015 according to the FMCSA. While only 1 percent of the crashes involving semi-tractor trailers resulted in a fatality, 20 percent of them left road users with some sort of injury. The data suggests that pedestrians, non-motorized vehicle occupants and cyclists were killed in disproportionately large numbers. The majority of deadly truck accidents in 2015 involved two motor vehicles, but 20 percent of those killed were on foot, cycling or using a non-motorized vehicle at the time.

The number of fatal crashes involving commercial vehicles weighing in excess of 10,000 pounds fell by 34 percent between 2005 and 2009, but it has since increased by 20 percent. Excessive speed is often cited as a factor in deadly truck accidents, but 60 percent of these collisions occurred on rural roads in 2015 according to the FMCSA report.

Government accident data suggests that human error plays a role in most fatal truck accidents, and the dependent family members of road users who are killed may pursue civil litigation when truck drivers or trucking companies have acted negligently. Truck drivers may be sued when accidents were caused by impairment, fatigue, distraction or reckless driving, and logistics companies could face lawsuits if defective parts, poor driver training or inadequate maintenance were responsible.

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