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Study: Speed, distraction are top causes for fatal truck wrecks

Accidents involving tractor trailers are known to be particularly dangerous for motorists in smaller vehicles. Because of this, there is a significant risk that a truck accident will result in a fatality.

According to recently released data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the number of fatal truck accidents went up by 3 percent between 2010 and 2011. Although this is a concerning development, the longer-term trend seems to be better for public safety: Over the course of the decade between 2001 and 2011, fatal truck accidents dropped by 25 percent. Although the frequency of fatal accidents appears to be on a downward trend, drivers should still be concerned about their safety.

Over-the-road truck drivers spend hundreds of hours driving every year. Because they spend so much time behind the wheel, it would make sense that they are at a higher risk of being caught up in accidents than drivers who don't put so many miles on.

At the same time, the amount of experience truck drivers have might also suggest they would be more cautious on the road. The previously cited study showed that truck drivers were at fault in 56 percent of fatal crashes with one vehicle. Speeding and distraction were the top two causes of accidents considered to be the fault of truck drivers. Like every other driver, truckers are susceptible to less-than-safe driving habits.

Even though the number of fatal truck accidents is on a downward trajectory in the big picture, more steps should still be taken to prevent these accidents. Even with these efforts, it remains the responsibility of drivers to make safety and caution a top priority.

Source:, "Truck accidents with deaths up in 2011, but drop 25% since 2001," Jill Dunn, Nov. 5, 2013

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