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2017 saw 9 percent rise in large truck traffic fatalities

Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has revealed that the number of large truck roadway fatalities went up 9 percent from 2016 to 2017. This is in spite of the fact that the number of vehicle deaths went down 1.8 percent during the same period. Michigan residents, especially those who work in the trucking industry, will want to pay attention to the details of these statistics.

The NHTSA's Fatality Analysis Reporting System shows that 37,133 people were killed in traffic crashes in 2017; that was 673 fewer deaths than in 2016. As for those killed in large truck crashes (with "large" being defined as having a gross vehicle weight rating higher than 10,000 pounds), fatalities went up from 4,369 to 4,761.

Many of the fatalities involved trucks that were less than 26,000 pounds and don't necessarily face oversight by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Year over year, the number of fatalities involving trucks between 10,000 and 14,000 pounds doubled. While the majority of decedents are vehicle occupants, there were 16 percent more large truck occupants killed in 2017.

In every other type of crash, 2017 saw a decrease in fatalities. Speeding-related deaths went down 5.6 percent, motorcycle deaths declined by 3.1 percent, pedestrian deaths were reduced by 1.7 percent and cyclist deaths dropped by 8.1 percent.

While drivers of passenger vehicles are often to blame for large truck crashes, sometimes it's the trucker who causes an accident out of negligence. After a fatal crash, the decedent's family or another eligible dependent could file a wrongful death suit against the trucking company that employed the negligent driver. Legal assistance will be crucial. A lawyer could hire professionals to investigate the crash and gather evidence before proceeding to negotiations. Plaintiffs could be covered for funeral and burial expenses, loss of support and more.

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