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NHTSA and FMCSA investigate causes of trucking accidents

Over the past 10 years, the number of commercial truck accidents has risen by about 20 percent. In response, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration came together to conduct the Large Truck Crash Causation Study. The results of their investigations should be of interest to both truck fleet owners and employees in Florida.

The two organizations looked into 120,000 fatal truck crashes that occurred over a 33-month period, finding that almost 75 percent of them included at least one other vehicle. Truck drivers were found to be at fault in 68,000 crashes. The NHTSA and the FMCSA broke down the reasons as follows.

Poor driving decisions, such as following the vehicle in front too closely, speeding and misjudging others' speed, accounted for 30,000 out of the 68,000 crashes. Inattentive and distracted driving and the resulting failure to recognize dangers on the road were to blame for 22,000 crashes.

The study attributed 9,000 crashes to "non-performance," which referred to any impairment that caused truckers to fail to perform adequately while behind the wheel. This included cases where drivers fell asleep or suffered a medical episode. Lastly, the study found that 7,000 crashes were due to performance-related issues, such as the failure to exercise good direction control. It concludes by saying that trucking companies should be more careful when hiring employees.

When truckers neglect safe driving practices or fail to maintain their trucks according to federal standards, they raise their risk of causing a crash. Victims of truck driver negligence may be eligible for compensation, but they will want a truck accident attorney to assist them with the claim. Trucking companies have their own team of lawyers who can argue against paying out, so an attorney can be a great benefit during settlement negotiations. Attorneys also have investigators who can help strengthen a case.

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