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Data shows large trucks often cause injury to others

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released safety facts based on 2012 data. In 2012, there were 107 large trucks involved in fatal accidents in Tennessee. This number represents 2.8 percent of the total number of large trucks involved in fatal crashes in the U.S. Across the country, 330,000 semi-trucks were involved in accidents in 2012. As a result of these wrecks, 104,000 people suffered injuries and 3,921 people were killed.

While large trucks comprised 4 percent of all registered vehicles in 2012, they made up 8 percent of all vehicles involved in fatal accidents. When these crashes occurred, 73 percent of the people who died were in vehicles other than the large trucks, while 18 percent of these victims were in the trucks.

The report goes on to note that 81 percent of deadly truck accidents in 2012 involved multiple vehicles, compared to 58 percent for passenger vehicles. When a multiple-vehicle accident with a large truck occurred, another vehicle was most likely to hit the rear of the truck. Additionally, most crashes took place on weekdays in rural areas.

Compared to drivers of motorcycles and passenger cars, large truck drivers were in slightly more recorded fatal crashes in 2012. However, large truck drivers had the lowest percentage of recorded license suspensions and DWI convictions.

A semi-truck accident could result in serious injuries for those in other vehicles, but truck drivers and the companies they work for are not automatically liable for injuries. A driver, company or manufacturer is only responsible for the injuries someone suffers if negligence occurred. If a driver drove longer than federal regulations allow, for example, the driver and his or her employer may be liable for an accident.

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, "Large Trucks", October 28, 2014

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