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The causes of truck crashes

Some Colorado residents may have been involved in truck accidents. According to data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 3,921 people killed in such crashes in 2012 throughout the country. This represented a 4 percent increase in the number of fatalities related to truck accidents in 2011.

Though commercial truck drivers are generally considered safe, accidents can happen when business interests conflict with safety guidelines. For example, accidents have occurred in situations where companies had unrealistic expectations of their drivers and compelled them to drive farther and longer than safety standards would otherwise permit. Similarly, commercial truck drivers have sometimes received incentives to drive more or been inadequately trained in understanding the safety concerns inherent to fatigued driving. All of these can potentially produce dangerous situations for other motorists on the roadway.

Perhaps due to the imbalance of their size and weight compared to other cars on the road, large trucks tend to be involved in fatal motor vehicle accidents more often than other vehicles. Smaller vehicles are commonly involved in crashes with trucks as a result of a variety of reasons, such as abrupt lane changes in front of a truck and merging improperly into traffic. The NHTSA reports that more than 70 percent of fatalities in truck accidents occur among the occupants of other vehicles involved instead of the truck itself.

Someone who is involved in an accident may be eligible for compensation if the incident was caused by another driver's negligence. In the case of an accident involving a distracted or negligent truck driver, it may be possible to name the driver's employer as an additional defendant in a personal injury lawsuit under the theory of vicarious liability.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "Large Trucks", accessed on Jan. 17, 2015

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