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Rate of truck accidents is dropping

Annually, the trucking industry puts out over $7 billion for technology and safety training in order to reduce the risk of accidents involving big trucks.

Many people are surprised to learn that the trucking industry is actually getting safer and not the other way around. But according to the recently released 2014 report by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts, that is the takeaway.

The report illustrates that in 2014, the rate of accidents with fatalities involving big rigs dropped off nearly 4 percent from the year before. As a matter of fact, the trend is long-term, as for the decade prior to the report, the total number of fatal accident with large trucks dropped more than 23 percent. The rates have been falling off steadily ever since 1980, and there are indications this will continue.

While there are many factors at play in collisions involving commercial trucks, the primary cause of most trucking accidents is the poor driving behaviors of those behind the wheel of passenger vehicles. Aggressive driving, speeding and driver inattention all combine to create safety hazards.

Trucker fatigue was cited as one factor in fewer than 4 percent of accidents, although those figures may be underreported.

One might think that nighttime driving would account for more fatalities, yet the opposite is true. Over 60 percent of highway deaths occur between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Non-fatal accidents happen during those hours 80 percent of the time.

Technology is an important tool in reducing highway deaths. Inventions like automatic emergency braking have major roles in reducing the frequency of accidents; so does driver education programs like the Share the Road Professionals.

Statistics don't matter to an injured driver, however. Those with injuries from an accident with a large truck may need to file a claim for damages to get financial compensation.

Source: American Trucking Associations, "Trucking’s Good News on Safety," Bill Graves, accessed May 27, 2016

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