Careless Drivers and Fatal Highway Crashes

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More than nine out of every 10 people who died in 2017 U.S. transportation accidents were killed in highway fatal motor vehicle crashes.

In November, the National Transportation Safety Board issued a snapshot report on last year’s deaths in railroad, aviation, waterway and motor vehicle accidents.  In 2017, nearly 40,000 people died in accidents involving these modes of transportation.  Highway deaths accounted for 37,133 fatalities – 95 percent of all U.S. transportation deaths that year.

Fatal Commercial Truck Crashes Increased

The NTSB broke down highway deaths even further.  The overall number of people killed in fatal motor vehicle crashes decreased from 2016 to 2017. (According to the Missouri Highway Patrol, total Missouri motor vehicle accident deaths dropped about 2 percent in 2017 compared to 2016.)  But commercial truck crash deaths jumped 16 percent year to year.

Any number of driver-related factors may be responsible for this increase in fatal tractor-trailer crashes.  Distracted truck drivers who are not focused on the road ahead are a common factor in deadly truck crashes.  Federal law prohibits big rig drivers from using a hand-held cell phone.  But not all truckers follow the rules.

Federal rules also require truck drivers to record their driving hours on electronic devices.  The trucking industry opposed this new requirement, which was initiated at the start of the year.  In a bit of good news for all drivers on the road, the federal government just revealed it rejected ELD mandate exemption requests from 10 different trucking concerns.

However, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, in response to trucking industry pressure, is considering revising its Hours of Service rules.  These rules limit the number of consecutive hours a trucker can be on the road without rest.  The decision to possibly relax these safety regulations that curb tired truckers is expected next spring.

Pedestrians Killed by Careless Drivers

According to the same NTSB report, almost 6, 000 pedestrians were killed in car and truck crashes in 2017.  The Governors Highway Safety Association, a nonprofit organization comprised of state safety offices, reports that pedestrian deaths has outpaced all other kinds of  U.S. traffic fatalities in recent years.

And in a report it issued earlier this year, the GHSA projected a 22 percent increase in the number of pedestrians killed in Missouri car crashes.

The GHSA pinpoints two types of irresponsible drivers – speeding drivers and drunk drivers – as those most responsible for fatal pedestrian accidents.  The group recommends tougher enforcement of existing laws and more aggressive educational efforts to rid our roads of these negligent drivers.

Driving remains the most dangerous mode of transportation in our country.  Those who drive carelessly and cause catastrophic accidents are the primary reason why this is so.

If you were seriously hurt or had a loved one die in a crash caused by another driver, speak with a motor vehicle accident attorney about pursuing your legal rights to just compensation.

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

Authored by Gray Ritter Graham, posted in Blog December 17, 2018


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