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FMCSA records rise in fatal CMV crashes in 2017

Fatal commercial motor vehicle crashes went up in 2017, according to the latest research by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. While there were 3,193 fatal CMV crash deaths in 2009, that number was 5,005 in 2017. The number of truck occupants killed also rose between those two years from 499 to 841. However, South Carolina residents should know that the majority of fatalities in both years were occupants of passenger automobiles.

The leading factor in these crashes (the FMCSA doesn't cite causes, only factors) was seat belt neglect. About half of CMV drivers in these fatal accidents were found not to be wearing their seat belts. Seat belt compliance is 86 percent among CMV drivers in general, including both truck and bus drivers. However, it is about 90 percent among passenger vehicle drivers.

The FMCSA is calling for more enforcement of seat belt laws and better education on the benefits of seat belt use. It also has high hopes that advances in vehicle automation will bring down the number of fatal accidents. This can especially help reduce accidents in work zones. In 2016, 27.2 percent of all fatal crashes took place in work zones.

The second leading factor in 2017's fatal crashes was speeding. It was involved in one-third of fatal crashes. States that saw the highest jump in fatal CMV crashes were Florida (27 percent) and Georgia (19.7 percent).

Truckers are sometimes to blame for the accidents they are involved in. For example, they could violate federal trucking regulations or become drowsy at the wheel. Whatever the situation, those who believe they were injured through a trucker's negligence can see a lawyer about filing a claim. While a trucking company may do everything it can to deny payment, a lawyer could negotiate on the victim's behalf. A claim could cover medical expenses, lost wages, vehicle damage and more.

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