Fatal Highway Crash Accidents on the Rise

New, preliminary data shows that deaths in U.S. transportation accidents rose by more than 2,000 people from 2015 to 2016, and that car and truck crashes on highways accounted for 95 percent of all fatalities.

The National Transportation Safety Board recently released its report on 2016 crashes.  It includes every mode of transportation, from rail to air, marine to motor vehicles, bikes to walking.  In 2016, 39,339 people were killed in accidents involving these modes, an increase of 2,030 transportation deaths over the prior year.

Those killed in highway accidents – 37,461 men, women and children – represented 95 percent of all 2016 transportation deaths.  The number of people killed in car and commercial truck wrecks specifically  increased 5 percent from 2015 to 2016.

Number of Large Trucks in Fatal Crashes Increasing

This is not an isolated trend.  For example, earlier this year the federal government reported the number of tractor-trailers involved in fatal crashes jumped 8 percent between 2014 and 2015.  Catastrophic motor vehicle accidents, it appears, are on the rise.

One possible reason is an improving economy.  A rise in online shopping requires more trucks on the road to deliver the growing number of goods.  More trucks only increase the odds for fatal highway crashes.

Truckers worn out by spending too much time driving is a leading cause for catastrophic crashes.  Today’s heightened job demands create the possibility of even more fatigued truck drivers on the road.

New ELD Mandate to Go Into Effect

That’s why the federal government proposed new rules designed to prevent dangerously tired truckers from taking the wheel.  Both new Hours of Service rules, which dictate how long a driver can work without rest, and a new way to track driver hours were crafted by regulators.  Both were greeted with strong opposition from trucking concerns.

Despite the obstacles, new working hours regulations and a new rule requiring drivers to record their hours electronically instead of in paper log books were passed.  The electronic logging-device mandate, which is designed to force drivers to honestly list their working hours – thereby following the rules for rest – goes into effect December 18.

The numbers are clear: our nation’s highways are becoming more dangerous.  Commercial big rigs weighing up to 40 tons can do extensive harm.  Those who operate and own them therefore should always act responsibly.

If you were critically injured or had a family member die in a crash with a commercial truck, speak to a truck accident lawyer, who can purse just compensation from all those responsible.

The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.

Authored by Gray, Ritter & Graham, P.C., posted in Blog December 11, 2017