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Study reveals main causes of trucking accidents

With more than 15 million commercial trucks traveling annually throughout Virginia and the rest of the country, these vehicles are a constant presence as well as an occasional hazard for other drivers. In the past decade, big rig accident rates have increased by 20 percent, and many of these accidents are caused by the truckers. A recent study called the Large Truck Crash Causation Study shows the many ways that truckers can cause accidents.

Researchers from both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration studied the data behind 120,000 fatal truck crushes recorded over a 33-month time span. They determined that truckers were to blame for 68,000 of those accidents. They then classified the accident causes into four categories: decisions, recognition, nonperformance and performance.

Under the category of decisions, researchers included cases where truckers engaged in negligent or reckless actions like speeding and following too closely behind other cars. Poor decisions accounted for 30,000 out of the 68,000 accidents. Under recognition, researchers grouped instances of distracted driving as well as times when truckers failed to recognize a danger on the road. These made up 22,000 of the accidents.

Nonperformance refers to truckers falling asleep, having medical episodes and experiencing other conditions. Performance refers to drivers panicking, engaging in risky evasive maneuvers or failing to exhibit good directional control.

Commercial vehicle crashes can lead to catastrophic injuries and deaths. That's why accident attorneys are normally adept at filing both injury claims and wrongful death suits. Victims of truck accidents, or their families, can request a case evaluation from a lawyer to see if they have the grounds for compensation. Once the lawyer takes on a case, he or she can bring in investigators to gather the proof of truck driver negligence.

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