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Experts weigh in on reduction in truck accident fatalities

The most recent statistics on the risk of death in semi-truck accidents appear to be cause for celebration, but big rigs may still pose significant risk to Louisiana motorists and their passengers. Outside groups and commentators note that the decline in fatalities has been correlated with an increase in injuries. The changes are most likely due to new safety technology and enforcement of new regulations by the Department of Transportation.

Truck accident fatality data released by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration showed that the number of trucks involved in fatal accidents decreased by 5 percent between 2013 and 2014. At the same time, injuries caused by big rigs increased by more than 20 percent. The FMCSA explained the discrepancy as an indication that new safety features, such as automatic emergency braking, are showing positive effects by saving lives.

A Wayne State University expert on the trucking industry pointed to a different cause for the discrepancy related more to the nature of statistics than actual safety improvements. As a relatively small figure, the number of fatalities is prone to wild fluctuations, according to Belzer. He went on to state that the research hints at, but does not conclusively show, safety improvements. An executive with the American Transportation Research Institute offered yet another explanation by pointing to new restart rules that put more semi-trucks on the road during morning rush hours when roads are more congested. More traffic could mean more injury accidents, but lower speeds could result in fewer fatalities.

There can be a variety of reasons why a truck is in an accident. A common one is truck driver fatigue which is often the result of companies putting pressure on their drivers to be on the road more hours. Injured victims in such an accident might want to sue the carrier in such an event, and an attorney can be of assistance in this regard.

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