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NHTSA data shows truck accidents on the rise


West Virginians see plenty of trucks on the state's roads and highways. They also occasionally see truck accidents involving 18-wheelers, tractor-trailers and delivery trucks weighing more than 10,000 pounds. Because these large vehicles can create so much damage and death, they have been the subject of nationwide data collection and study for decades.

According to an NHTSA report, an estimated 333,000 trucks were involved in accidents in 2012, with 104,000 people sustaining serious injuries and nearly 4,000 people dying. The number of fatalities rose by 4 percent from about 3,800 in 2011. Of all truck accident fatalities, 18 percent were truck occupants and 73 percent were occupants of other vehicles. These data show that truck occupants - drivers and passengers - are more likely to walk away unharmed in collisions than are drivers and passenger in other vehicles.

In accidents in West Virginia and as well as other states, each party's fault in an accident is measured and determined by traffic investigators. A truck driver can be held liable if the results showed that he or she was driving recklessly before the collision. Some of the most common causes of trucking accidents are failure to comply with federal trucking regulations and reckless, distracted or drunken driving. If any of these was a direct cause of a truck accident, then the injured parties or the estates of those killed can seek compensation. Truck drivers, their employers and trucking companies are some of the most commonly named defendants in truck accident lawsuits.

Anyone who is suffering as the result of a truck accident caused by driver negligence should consult with a legal professional.

Source: Dot.gov, "Large trucks," accessed on Jan. 15, 2015

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