Carter Craig, Attorneys at Law
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Truck fatalities on the rise while overall death rates fall

Virginia drivers may be somewhat safer on the roads than they were in 2015 and 2016, but this may not necessarily hold true if they are in or sharing the road with semi trucks. On Oct. 3, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released figures from its Fatality Analysis Reporting System. After an increase in fatalities in 2015 and 2016, there was a decline in 2017, and this trend appears to be holding based on preliminary figures from the first half of 2018. However, fatalities involving larger vehicles are on the rise.

There was a 3 percent increase in deaths involving SUVs, an increase of nearly 6 percent for tractor-trailers and a surge of more than 18 percent for large straight truck deaths. Large straight trucks are vehicles weighing more than 10,000 pounds, so it includes both commercial and noncommercial vehicles such as dual-wheeled pickups.

One reason for this surge could be more trucks on the road as the economy improves. Another reason could be a lack of seat belts. Compared to 2016, about 16 percent more people killed in fatal truck accidents were not wearing their seat belts. Urban density also appears to be an issue with a shift from more accidents happening in rural areas to more accidents happening in urban areas. There were other changes as well, such as alcohol-related motor vehicle fatalities declining while drug-related ones rose.

Crashes involving large trucks can be particularly severe to occupants of smaller vehicles. In some cases, the accident could be the result of trucking company negligence. For example, the company might fail to maintain the vehicles properly or allow the driver proper rest time. People who are injured in these types of accidents may want to contact an attorney who might be able to assist in getting compensation to cover their medical expenses and other costs.

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