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Vehicle defects, long hours contribute to truck crashes

Trucks are more likely to crash on New Jersey roads if they have safety defects or if their drivers have been working a long shift, according to a study. The research was sponsored by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and published in December 2016.

Federal statistics show that 3,852 people were killed in accidents involving large trucks in 2015. Sixty-nine percent of those fatalities were riding in passenger vehicles, 16 percent were truck occupants and 15 percent were bicyclists, motorcyclists or pedestrians. To better understand why these crashes occur, IIHS researchers teamed with the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center and the North Carolina State Highway Patrol to study truck crashes that occurred in North Carolina between 2010 and 2012. Of the 197 crashes and control pairs analyzed in the study, over one-third involved fatalities and 17 percent involved a serious injury.

Researchers found that almost 75 percent of all trucks involved in crashes had some sort of vehicle defect. Further, they determined that trucks with any type of out-of-service violation were four times more likely to be involved in an accident than trucks that had no violations. The study also showed that truck drivers who had last had an extended sleep 12 or more hours before getting behind the wheel had a far higher chance of being in a crash than drivers who were more refreshed.

A big rig accident can be caused by a number of factors, including poor truck maintenance, driver fatigue and driver negligence. Victims of truck crashes may be able to recover medical expenses, lost wages and other damages by filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver and/or the trucking company with the assistance of an attorney.

Source: IIHS, "Safety defects and long hours contribute to large truck crashes", Dec. 8, 2016

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