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Large truck crashes are rising, and others pay the price

Out of the more than 34,000 deadly car crashes that occur every year in West Virginia and the rest of the U.S., about 4,000 involve at least one large truck or bus. The number of truck crashes has risen in Florida especially, going from 23,515 in 2014 to 32,513 in 2018. A 2017 report from the Florida Department of Transportation found that speeding was the number one driver-related factor in these crashes.

It's not so much the truckers who are being impacted by this trend but rather the people in passenger vehicles. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration states that 72 percent of fatalities arising from crashes between trucks and passenger vehicles are occupants of the latter. One mid-sized trucking company in the Midwest, Maverick Transportation, is addressing the trend by ramping up safety technology for its fleet.

This technology includes lane departure warning, collision avoidance systems, roll stability control and in-cab cameras that face forward. Despite having 1,800 trucks in its fleet, Maverick saw only one reportable accident in 2018 (reportable accidents are ones where someone is injured or the truck is towed away).

Speed limiters are becoming more and more important, too. Maverick has set the limiter on its fleet to 65 mph. To date, there is no federal mandate on speed limiters.

Speeding is a form of negligence. Unfortunately, many truckers speed to make up for lost miles. Those who are injured in a semi trucking accident, though, may be able to receive compensation for their injuries, lost wages, pain and suffering and other economic and non-economic losses. Filing a claim against the trucking company can be difficult without legal counsel, so victims may want to schedule a case evaluation. A lawyer might negotiate on victims' behalf or prepare the case for court if a settlement cannot be reached.

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