Goldstein, Heslop, Steele, Clapper, Oswalt & Smith

Fatal truck accidents have increased nationwide

The number of deadly and serious accidents involving large trucks, that is, semi-tractors and other trucks weighing in the area of 80,000 pounds, has been on the increase, at least according to some recent information compiled by the federal government.

In 2017, there were 344,000 truck accidents that resulted in significant injuries to at least one person. Additionally, there were 4,237 crashes which involved fatalities. These numbers were each an increase of about 10% over last year.

Interestingly, a little over 1 out of 4 of these accidents happened on the interstate, but well over half, 57%, happened in rural areas much like some of the more remote parts of Western Pennsylvania.

There is also considerable evidence that fatigued driving may be a contributing factor to many of these fatal accidents. For instance, over 4 out of 5 of the fatal accidents, 83%, happened between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., which includes the overnight hours. Indeed, one government organization has suggested that fatigued driving may be a contributing factor to far more truck accidents than what get reported to authorities.

In light of these statistics, it would seem that truckers and, in particular, trucking companies would want to pay closer attention to safety. It is therefore a little disconcerting that the trucking industry has been lobbying for years, apparently with some success, to get the federal government to back off regulations like the hours of service rules, which serve to prevent fatigued driving.

Be that as it may, truckers are still responsible if they negligently injure an Altoona resident in an accident. A victim may seek compensation from a negligent trucker and his or her employer by filing a personal injury case.

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