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Truck accident fatalities buck trend by rising in 2017

Motor vehicle accident fatalities in Connecticut and around the country fell slightly in 2017 after rising worryingly in 2015 and 2016 according to Fatality Analysis Reporting System data released on Oct 3 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Road deaths fell by 2 percent overall in 2017 with especially sharp falls in the number of cyclists and van occupants killed. However, the number of road users killed in accidents involving commercial vehicles weighing 10,000 pounds or more bucked the downward trend by surging 16 percent from 725 in 2016 to 841 in 2017.

A Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration representative reacted to the NHTSA figures by pointing out that many of the trucks involved in fatal accidents in 2017 weighed between 10,000 and 14,000 pounds and were not subject to the agency's oversight. He also said that the booming U.S. economy has led to a significantly higher number of commercial vehicles on the nation's roads. The 28.5 percent increase in the number of road user killed in truck accidents involving multiple vehicles is especially concerning for agencies like NHTSA and the FMCSA.

The FARS data also reveals that drug impairment is becoming an increasingly serious road safety issue. While the number of road users killed in drunk driving accidents fell by 1.1 percent in 2017, police departments around the country are reporting an alarming rise in motor vehicle accidents involving drivers under the influence of marijuana, opioids and prescription medications. Lawmakers and road safety advocates around the country are paying especially close attention to accidents involving THC impairment as momentum is gathering in many states to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.

The reports submitted by police officers and accident investigators that NHTSA uses to compile its FARS data may also provide important evidence for personal injury attorneys pursuing compensation for those who have suffered injury, loss or damage. These reports may reveal that truck drivers were fatigued, intoxicated or distracted when they crashed, which is information that attorneys might be able to use in court to prove negligence and establish liability.

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