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FMCSA report reveals alarming rise in fatal truck crashes

Fatal commercial truck and bus accidents are becoming worryingly common in Kentucky and other U.S. states according to data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The agency reports that the number of large buses and semi-tractor trailers involved in deadly collisions increased by 8 percent in 2015 to 4,311, and a similar surge was observed in the number of fatal accidents tractor-trailers are involved in per 100 million miles traveled.

The FMCSA figures follow a disturbing road safety trend. The National Safety Council reported that road fatalities had increased by 7 percent in 2015 over the prior year after years of steady improvement, and an increase in traffic levels caused by inexpensive fuel and plentiful jobs was thought to be largely responsible. However, the FMCSA report suggests that it is passenger vehicles and not trucks and buses that are making the nation's highways more crowded and dangerous.

The FMCSA reports that the number of miles traveled by tractor-trailers increased by a barely noticeable 0.3 percent in 2015, and vehicle miles covered by buses inched up by only 1.4 percent. According to NHTSA's Fatality Analysis Reporting System, which provided the data used by both the FMCSA and the NSC to produce their reports, the deadliest year so far in the 21st century for bus and truck accidents was 2005 when more than 5,000 large commercial vehicles were involved in fatal crashes.

Serious accidents involving commercial vehicles are usually investigated thoroughly by law enforcement, and the information contained in police and accident reports may be of use to personal injury attorneys who are representing truck accident victims. Indications that federal safety regulations may have been ignored or drivers could have been fatigued or impaired may be used by attorneys to establish financial responsibility.

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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