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Are commercial vehicle accidents increasing?

You probably heard about the tragic accident on the Maine Turnpike that claimed the lives of a five-year-old boy and a 57-year-old man in November. In an article that just appeared in the Portland Press Herald, it was revealed that the truck driver who caused the accident was not permitted to drive across state lines due to being an insulin-dependent diabetic.

While this specific medical condition may not have been a factor in this crash, it's certainly cause for concern. Are the roads more dangerous than they used to be? 

Truck accidents appear to be on the rise

According to the latest report on Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts (November 2016) from the Department of Transportation, 4,311 large trucks and buses were involved in fatal crashes in 2015, an 8-percent increase from 2014. From 2014-2015 the number of fatal crashes involving large trucks or buses increased by five percent.

Typical large truck violations

Operation Safe Driver 2016 is a program devised by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) to lower the number of crashes resulting in injury and death. Over the course of a week in October, law enforcement officers stopped over 20,000 commercial and passenger vehicle drivers nationally, and gave out over 19,000 warnings and citations. Their goal is to make drivers aware of unsafe driving behaviors so they do things differently in the future.

Here are the top five violations by commercial motor vehicle drivers according to the CVSA:

  • Moving violations: 56.7 percent
  • Speeding: 19.6 percent
  • Failure to obey traffic control devices: 7.6 percent
  • Not wearing a seat belt: 7.1 percent
  • Using a handheld phone: 2.4 percent

Any of these driving violations on their own could be risky, but when they're combined with distracted driving or fatigue, the result could be very dangerous. In the study, seven commercial motor vehicle drivers were cited for driving while ill or tired, and 38 were warned about the same issue.

What can you do to stay safe?

Drive carefully around large trucks and other commercial vehicles by being aware of their movement and whenever possible, keeping a safe distance. If you or a loved one has been hurt in an accident, it's a good idea to talk with an attorney and get advice about your options. And of course, do your part by practicing safe driving behavior--as always.

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