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Drivers should be aware of disturbing truck accident trends

In the busy and often congested roads and highways of New Jersey, a truck accident can have catastrophic results. Property can be damaged, serious injuries can occur and lives can be lost. Knowing the recent disturbing truck accident trends can help truck drivers avoid accidents. This information also can be beneficial to other motorists so they can travel safely on New Jersey roads.

One of the reasons why a truck can be dangerous in an accident is that the vehicles weigh 20 to 30 times more as compared with cars and other vehicles. Trucks also have more ground clearance. In comparison with cars, trucks carrying a maximum load can travel 40 percent further than cars when braking. These risks are greater when a truck's brakes are not maintained properly and when roads are slippery. Driver fatigue can be a crash risk, as well.

According to the 2012 Fatality Analysis Reporting System of the U.S. Department of Transportation, 67 percent of motorists involved in fatal truck accidents were occupants of cars and other motor vehicles. Seventeen percent of these fatalities were either the occupants or driver of the truck. Pedestrians, motorcyclists and bicyclists composed 15 percent of the total 3,514 fatalities that incurred in 2012. Also, 27 percent of fatal accidents involved single-unit trucks, while 74 percent were attributed to tractor-trailers. Almost 50 percent of the fatal truck accidents happened between the hours of 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Accidents were 17 percent more likely to occur on Saturday and Sunday.

Finally, 60 percent of fatal truck crashes happened on major thoroughfares. However, only 29 percent of these crashes occurred on freeways and interstates. With these disturbing trends in mind, New Jersey residents can now try to avoid accidents more effectively. However, when an accident does occur and a victim suspects negligence on the part of the driver or the truck company, filing a legal action is always a potential option.

Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, "Large trucks," accessed Sept. 11, 2014

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