NHTSA: truck crash deaths rise in 2017, car crash deaths decrease

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released its 2017 crash data, culled from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System. It turns out that the number of people killed in traffic crashes went down from 37,806 in 2016 to 37,133 in 2017: a 1.8 percent decrease. The most positive difference was seen in the number of speeding-related deaths, down by 5.6 percent, and bicyclist deaths, down by 8.1 percent.

Passenger vehicle fatalities decreased by 1.4 percent while motorcyclist and pedestrian deaths saw a decline of 3.1 and 1.7 percent, respectively. Deaths from distracted driving crashes went down as well although they still made up 3,166, or 8.5 percent, of all deaths.

Despite all this, there was one area that did not see a decline: large truck traffic fatalities. NHTSA reports that there was a 9 percent increase from 4,369 to 4,761 traffic fatalities involving large trucks. Fatal multi-vehicle crashes with large trucks also shot up by 8.8 percent.

NHTSA defines a large truck as one with a gross vehicle weight rating greater than 10,000 pounds. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has commented on the report, stating that most of the fatal crashes involved trucks that were less than 26,000 pounds and therefore not subject to FMCSA regulations. There were also double the number of fatal crashes with trucks between 10,000 and 14,000 pounds.

In collisions between large trucks and passenger vehicles, the occupants of the latter incur the worse injuries. If the at-fault driver was the trucker, victims or their surviving dependents may be eligible for damages. Accident attorneys may be able to evaluate the grounds for a personal injury claim or wrongful death lawsuit, and they might hire third parties to gather proof against the defendant. Victims may leave all settlement negotiations to their lawyer.

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