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Deadly tractor-trailer crashes becoming more common

There was an alarming increase in the number of fatal accidents involving tractor-trailers and buses in West Virginia and around the country in 2015 according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Statistics indicates that 4,311 large trucks and buses were involved in deadly crashes in 2015, which is a worrying 8 percent increase over the 2014 figures according to the federal safety watchdog.

The large truck involvement rate also increased by 8 percent in 2015 according to the FMCSA report. This figure represents how often commercial vehicles are involved in fatal accidents for each 100 million miles traveled. A 7 percent increase in road deaths overall in 2015 was largely put down to increased vehicle traffic by the National Safety Council, but the FMCSA report reveals that the distance covered by tractor-trailers in 2015 increased by a mere 0.3 percent.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began compiling the Fatality Analysis Reporting data used by the FMCSA to compile its report in 1975. The deadliest year on record for fatal commercial truck accidents was 2005 when 5,231 buses and trucks crashed. This number fell by more than a third between 2005 and 2009 due in part to stricter regulations, improved safety features and more aggressive enforcement.

The FMCSA uses FARS data to identify road safety trends and develop more effective regulations. When these regulations are ignored by truck drivers and accidents result, occupants of other vehicles who have been injured might want to have a lawyer seek appropriate compensation on their behalf through a lawsuit filed against the negligent trucker.

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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