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Truck accident deaths continue to rise

Weaker congressional regulations related to truck driver fatigue and ineffective trucking industry safety enforcement create growing hazards for Ohio motorists. Statistics gathered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that deaths from big truck accidents have increased for four years in a row. The NHTSA found that fatalities have risen 17 percent since 2009.

According to the U.S. Transportation Department 3,964 truckers, pedestrians and people in passenger vehicles involved in accidents with large trucks died in 2013. Driver fatigue is often cited as a contributing factor. However, regulations meant to combat the issue have been stalled because a rule preventing some drivers from working 82 hours in eight days may be causing more trucks to be on the roads during peak hours.

The accident that killed comedian James McNair and seriously injured Tracy Morgan highlights the issue. The Wal-Mart Stores Inc. truck that hit Morgan's van from behind was driven by a person who had not slept for 24 hours or possibly more, according to police records.

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board reports that safety enforcement is lacking in the trucking industry. Records show that an average of 20 percent of truck inspections yield safety problems.

In this climate of rising fatalities and uncertain safety enforcement, big rig crashes remain a hazard on Ohio roads. A victim of a truck accident may suffer severe trauma, and the lost wages and medical bills that result could create financial hardships. A person in such a situation has the option of seeking help from a personal injury attorney.

Bloomberg, "Trucking Safety Should Be a Higher U.S. Priority, NTSB Says", Alan Levin, Jan. 13, 2015

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