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Truck accident statistics illustrate potential for fatalities

While car accidents are a day-to-day occurrence in Billings, Montana, minor fender-benders pale in comparison to the destruction caused by a truck accident. Unfortunately, as the 2013 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reveals, truck accidents have the potential to cause thousands of fatalities each year.

According to the NHTSA, in 2013 nearly 4,000 individuals died in accidents involving large trucks, such as semi-trucks. Of these fatalities, over 70 percent were individuals in the vehicle the truck collided with. 17 percent of the fatalities were individuals in the large truck, and 11 percent of fatalities were individuals who were not occupants of any vehicle. Fatal truck accidents were most likely to happen on weekdays. In fact, just under 80 percent of fatal truck accidents took place on a weekday.

However, compared to 2012, injuries in accidents involving large trucks went down, from 104,000 to 95,000. Of those injured, one-quarter were inside the truck at the time of the accident, while 72 percent were inside the vehicle the truck collided with at the time of the accident.

Alcohol use also played a role in many fatal truck accidents. In 2 percent of such accidents, the truck driver's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was above 0.08 percent. However, in 23 percent of fatal accidents involving large trucks, the driver of the vehicle the truck collided with had a BAC above the legal limit.

These sobering statistics serve as a reminder that truck accidents can be deadly affairs. The force of a semi-truck crashing into a passenger vehicle at a high rate of speed can potentially cause a fatal accident. While each individual's situation is unique, it may be the case that the accident was caused by truck driver negligence. Drunk driving, truck driver fatigue and distracted driving can all factor into who is at fault in an accident. With the potential for harm as high as it is, those injured in truck accidents -- or their loved ones, if the victim does not survive the crash -- may want to seek the help they need to understand their legal options.

Source: Traffic Safety Facts, "Large Trucks," June 2015

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