In October, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) published data from its Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS.) It showed that in 2017, most types of fatal motor vehicle accidents decreased. This includes speed-related and drunk-driving crashes. Sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and large trucks crashes went up as did crash rates in urban areas. Researchers have attempted to make sense of these increases.
NHTSA data shows that the tractor-trailer and SUV crash rates for 2017 increased by 5.8 percent over the previous year. Those that involved large straight trucks increased by just shy of 19 percent during the same time frame.
What the data doesn't tell you, though, is that most of the fatalities involving large trucks didn't involve commercial tractor-trailers regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA.) Instead, they involved motor homes, dual-wheeled pickup trucks and buses that weighted in excess of 10,000 gross pounds. Those driving these types of vehicles aren't subject to U.S. Department of Transportation oversight.
As for reasons for this uptick in crashes, many road safety analysts point to the fact that there are more vehicles on the road and that this has caused an increase in traffic density. This has contributed to there being more truck accidents in urban areas than in rural ones.
Seat belt use is reportedly down too. At least 16 percent of truck drivers who were killed in 2017 weren't wearing them, a significant increase over the previous year.
The incidence rate of alcohol involved crashes declined in 2017. The number of marijuana impaired motorists causing accidents increased as the drug became legalized in many states.
While traffic density, speeding, drug use and motorists not wearing seat belts have been pointed to for the uptick in truck crashes during 2017, factors such as poor road conditions, driver inexperience and distractions may also be to blame. When you've been hurt in a crash, you'll want to have a Queens attorney who has experience in handling injury claims to fight for your rights.