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2017 saw rise in fatal large truck crashes, says NHTSA

Large trucks continue to be a danger to other drivers in West Virginia. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has found that in 2017, all types of traffic fatalities declined in number except large truck crash fatalities. Whether or not truckers or the other side are to blame for most of these accidents is another matter, though one worthy of consideration.

NHTSA's report on car crashes in 2017 simply lays out the statistics. Altogether, the number of people killed in traffic crashes went down by 1.8 percent from 37,806 in 2016 to 37,133 in 2017. Passenger vehicle, motorcycle and pedestrian fatalities saw a 1.4, 3.1 and 1.7 percent decrease, respectively. Bicyclist deaths saw the most difference with an 8.1 percent drop. Fatal crashes due to speeding or distracted driving also declined.

However, large truck fatalities bucked the trend by going up 9 percent from 4,369 to 4,761. There were also 280 more fatalities in multi-vehicle crashes with large trucks: an 8.8 percent increase. NHTSA defines large trucks as those having a gross vehicle weight rating greater than 10,000 pounds.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has stated that 2017 saw double the number of fatal crashes involving trucks between 10,000 and 14,000 pounds. Many of the trucks, being under 26,000 pounds, may or may not have been regulated by the FMCSA.

In the event that a negligent truck driver causes a car crash, victims can seek compensation under personal injury law. This may mean having a lawyer to assist with the claim, negotiate for the settlement and speak in court if a fair settlement cannot be reached. An accident attorney might also hire third parties to obtain the police report, investigate the accident and gather proof against the trucker, such as in-cab camera footage, truck maintenance records and work logs.

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