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NHTSA's 2017 data shows rise in fatal crashes with large trucks

In Colorado and across the U.S., the number of fatal crashes involving large trucks continues to rise. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a report summarizing the 2017 car crash data that it collected through its Fatality Analysis Reporting System. It appears that large truck crash deaths were the only type of vehicle crash death that saw an increase.

The total number of traffic fatalities went down 1.8 percent from 37,806 to 37,133 people. Fatalities in passenger vehicle, motorcyclist and pedestrian crashes went down by 1.4, 3.1 and 1.7 percent, respectively. Bicyclist fatalities saw a significant 8.1 percent decrease while speeding-related deaths declined by 5.6 percent. Distracted driving crashes, while accounting for 8.5 percent of all fatalities, also saw a reduction.

On the other hand, large truck crash fatalities saw a 9 percent increase in the past year from 4,369 to 4,761 people. Multi-vehicle crashes involving large trucks went up 8.8 percent. By "large trucks," NHTSA means trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating greater than 10,000 pounds.

Last year saw double the number of fatal crashes with trucks between 10,000 and 14,000 pounds. The administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has commented on the report, saying that many of the trucks involved in these fatal crashes weighed less than 26,000 pounds and may not have been regulated by the FMCSA.

There are various reasons for this increase, but truck driver negligence is often a factor. If the occupants of a passenger vehicle incur a personal injury in a truck crash, they may want to see if they can file a claim against the trucking company. This means meeting with a lawyer for a case evaluation. A lawyer might hire investigators, medical experts and other third parties to strengthen the claim, and the lawyer may handle all insurance negotiations. If a settlement isn't reached, victims might choose to litigate.

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