Highway Deaths From 18-Wheeler Accidents, Other Large-Truck Crashes Jumped 9% in 2017

Texas 18-Wheeler Accident Lawyer | Louisiana 18-Wheeler Accident Lawyer | Zehl & Associates

Highway deaths involving 18-wheelers and other large trucks were up significantly in 2017, even as the overall fatality rate decreased.

According to a report published in October by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 673 fewer highway deaths in 2017 compared to 2016.

Yet accidents involving large trucks produced 392 additional fatalities over the prior year, representing a spike of 9%.

Deaths Involving 18-Wheelers and other Tractor-Trailer Combos Up Nearly 6%

The U.S. Department of Transportation defines large trucks as those with a gross vehicle weight rating in excess of 10,000 pounds.

According to the NTSB, crash deaths involving 18-wheelers and other tractor-trailer combinations rose 5.8% in 2017, while those involving single-unit straight trucks grew by 18.7%.

Overall, 4,761 people died in connection with large-truck accidents last year. The majority – 3,450 – were the occupants of other vehicles, up 8.8% since 2016.

Large-truck occupant fatalities related to multiple-vehicle crashes increased by 76, more than a 28% jump. Truck occupant deaths in single-vehicle accidents rose by 8.7%.

Trump’s Trucking Regulator Blames Economic Growth for Rising Death Toll

In a conference call with reporters, the Trump-appointed head of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) suggested economic growth was behind the rising death rate.

“It is somewhat of a corollary that as the economy grows, more vehicle miles will be traveled … and the potential for crashes, injuries does increase,” Ray Martinez said.

It’s not at all surprising that Martinez would want to downplay a spike in large-truck crash fatalities. After all, the increase makes it much harder to justify the regulatory purge being pursued  by his agency.

Trump Targets Regulations that Prevent Deadly 18-Wheeler Crashes

In just a few months, for example, the FMSCA will likely propose scaling back the Hours-of-Service regulations that specify the number of daily and weekly hours truckers can spend driving and working, as well as the minimum amount of time they must rest between driving shifts.

The FMSCA already scrapped a proposed regulation that would have required sleep apnea screening for commercial drivers.

Obstructive sleep apnea causes brief interruptions of breathing during sleep. Notably, people who suffer from the condition are far more likely to doze off while driving.

Obstructive sleep apnea affects an estimated 1 in 10 individuals. Unfortunately, without screening, many people aren’t even aware that they have the disorder.

Our Undefeated 18-Wheeler Accident Attorneys Have Successfully Represented Clients After Crashes Caused by Driver Fatigue

The Hours-of-Service regulations and the proposed sleep apnea screening rule were intended to prevent deadly crashes caused by driver fatigue. According to the NHTSA, sleepy drivers cause between 30% and 40% of all 18-wheeler accidents and other large commercial truck crashes.

Our Undefeated 18-Wheeler Accident Attorneys have successfully represented clients in crashes involving undiagnosed, obstructive sleep apnea and fatigued commercial drivers.

Most recently, for example, we won a $6 million settlement after several Greyhound passengers were injured in a rollover crash.

Although Greyhound claimed that a “sudden medical episode” caused the driver to pass out, our attorneys obtained the first court-ordered sleep study of a commercial driver in Texas, which proved the driver actually suffered from undiagnosed Obstructive Sleep Apnea and likely fell asleep while driving.

Our settlement holds the record as the largest ever related to driver fatigue in Greyhound’s corporate history.

The settlement and our deposition of the driver was covered by the CBS Morning News and other major news networks across the United States.

Were You or a Loved One Injured in an 18-Wheeler Accident or Other Commercial Truck Crash? Contact Our Undefeated 18-Wheeler Accident Lawyers for a Free Consult by Calling 1-888-603-3636 or CLICK HERE.

In addition to being Undefeated, our 18-Wheeler Accident Lawyers have won over $1 billion for thousands of clients throughout Texas, Louisiana, and across the United States, including Record-Breaking Truck Accident Verdicts and Settlements for the victims of reckless and fatigued commercial drivers.

If you or someone you love were involved in an 18-Wheeler crash,  and you would like to learn more about your legal rights and options, please call 1-888-603-3636 or Click Here to send us a confidential email via our “Contact Us” form.

All consultations are free and, because we only work for a contingency fee, you’ll owe nothing unless we win your case.

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