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Truck accident injuries rise as fatalities fall

Sophisticated technology and innovative safety features have helped to make the roads of New Jersey safer in recent years. A Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration report reveals that the number of truck accident injuries surged by 21 percent in 2014 from the preceding year while the number of trucks involved in fatal accidents dipped by 5 percent, and the agency believes that accident avoidance systems and lane control features are largely responsible. A representative of the federal safety agency said that this kind of technology often makes accidents survivable even when it fails to prevent them altogether.

Trucking industry advocates were quick to use the FMCSA report to criticize the federal regulations limiting the amount of time that truck drivers can spend behind the wheel. An American Transportation Research Institute executive said that the 34-hour restart provision, which was introduced to reduce the impact of cumulative fatigue, led to an increase in the number of tractor-trailers being driven on major highways during the busy morning and afternoon rush hours.

Crashes during peak commute times are extremely common, but they usually occur at relatively low speeds. However, accidents involving trucks that occur when traffic is sparse are often catastrophic due to the higher speeds involved and the size and weight of large commercial vehicles.

Accidents involving semi-trucks often result in serious and sometimes fatal injuries to occupants of other vehicles, but establishing that negligence was the cause can be challenging for victims pursuing civil remedies for their losses. When police reports are inconclusive, personal injury attorneys may initiate inquiries of their own. The truck may be examined for signs of inadequate maintenance, and the records of both the truck driver and trucking company involved may be reviewed.

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