Federal vehicle crash data analyzed by safety group Road Safe America show an unsettling trend in Kentucky and across the United States: a sharp increase in tractor-trailer related fatal accidents since 2009.

According to the data, nearly 36,000 Americans died as a result of large truck accidents from 2009 through 2017. These numbers are especially discouraging given that the total number of miles driven by professional truck drivers dropped from 2009 to 2016. In other words, the public roadways are more dangerous than before despite the fact that fewer trucks are on the road.

Fatal truck accidents are a scourge on Kentucky roads, but thankfully the state is not one of the five most fatal truck accidents. According to the data, the states that are most likely to have fatal truck accidents include Texas, California, Florida, Georgia, and Pennsylvania. On the other end of the spectrum, the five states with the smallest increases in truck crash deaths include Washington State, Idaho, Colorado, Texas, and Nevada.

According to Road Safe America, there are steps that can be taken to lower these fatal accidents. These include more stringent enforcement of speeding laws as well as the mandatory installation of automatic emergency braking systems.

Most big rigs weigh up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded. It’s no wonder a machine that heavy can cause so much havoc when it crashes into other drivers. Any driver injured by a negligent big rig operator may have a valid claim upon which they can file a lawsuit. An experienced personal injury attorney might be able to help that injured person collect damages from the responsible parties. This compensation may address lost wages, hospital bills, and property damages.