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NHTSA and FMCSA study reasons for rise in fatal truck crashes

Truck fleet owners and truck drivers in Oklahoma may want to know about the Large Truck Crash Causation Study that was released by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. After analyzing the data behind 120,000 fatal truck crashes that occurred within a 33-month period, researchers found that truckers were to blame for 68,000 of them.

In about 75 percent of the crashes, at least one other vehicle was involved. The NHTSA and the FMCSA broke down the causes of the crashes into four categories. The first is related to decision-making ability. In 30,000 of the 68,000 crashes, truckers were either following other vehicles too closely, speeding or acting based on an incorrect judgment of others’ speeds.

The second category includes inattentive and distracted driving, where drivers fail to recognize the hazards on the road or other situations requiring action. This was behind 22,000 crashes. The last two categories are performance and nonperformance. The former covers actions like panicking and poor directional control while the latter pertains to situations where drivers fall asleep, suffer medical episodes or become impaired in other ways.

More than 15 million commercial trucks travel the nation’s roads every year. The study is partly a response to the spike in commercial truck accidents. In the past 10 years alone, the number of crashes has increased by 20 percent.

In cases where truckers are to blame for truck accidents, those who are injured may be able to file a personal injury claim against the trucking company. This is where a lawyer can come in. Third-party investigators can determine just how the trucker was negligent by obtaining a copy of the police report as well as truck maintenance records, phone records and whatever else is relevant. An attorney could negotiate on victims’ behalf for a fair settlement.