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Study reveals common causes of trucking accidents

To highway drivers in California, commercial trucks are a frequent sight. After all, more than 15 million truckers travel the nation's roads every year. However, the number of accidents involving commercial vehicles has risen over 20 percent in the past decade. In an effort to determine common accident causes, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration collaborated on a study of 120,000 fatal truck collisions that occurred over a 33-month period.

Of the crashes studied, the Large Truck Crash Causation Study determined that 68,000 were the trucker's fault. Researchers broke down the causes of these fatal accidents into four distinct categories.

The most common cause, poor decisions, accounted for 30,000 of the 68,000 crashes. This category covers reckless actions like speeding over the posted limit, speeding in bad weather and following too closely behind other vehicles. The No. 2 category, recognition, involves failing to notice hazards on the road and react accordingly, either through distraction or inattentiveness.

The last two categories are non-performance and performance. The former includes cases where drivers were drowsy, fell asleep or suffered a medical condition or other impairment. The category of performance involves situations where truckers panicked or otherwise exercised poor directional control. Together, these accounted for 16,000 of the fatal crashes.

The families of those who suffer fatal truck accident injuries can seek out legal representation. By filing a wrongful death suit, a family could be compensated for the victim's pre-death medical bills as well as funeral and burial expenses. If the victim was the breadwinner of the family, the settlement could cover loss of support.

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