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Deadly truck and bus accident report released by the FMCSA

California residents may assume that most fatal truck or bus accidents take place on busy highways in and around cities like Los Angeles, San Diego or San Francisco, but data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reveals that most of these crashes occur on quiet rural roads. This was one of the many facts contained in the agency's 'Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts" report for 2014. The number of people killed in truck accidents each year has fallen by almost 40 percent since 2004, and the number of commercial vehicles involved in fatal crashes fell by a further 5 percent in 2014 from the previous year.

According to the FMCSA data, 34 percent of fatal truck and bus accidents involved driver-related factors such as fatigue, excessive speed, distraction or impairment. In contrast, fatal accidents involving passenger vehicles featured some form of driver error 58 percent of the time. The FMCSA report also reveals that the truck drivers involved in serious accidents in 2014 were usually between 25 and 66 years of age.

The American Trucking Association welcomed the report, and the trade group renewed its call for a speed limit of 65 mph for heavy commercial vehicles to be implemented across the country. The ATA has also called for speed limiter devices to be installed in all large trucks. Research conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has also linked speed limit increases with higher numbers of road fatalities.

The surviving family members of those killed in an 18-wheeler accident often face great financial pressure during a time of overwhelming grief, and attorneys may file wrongful death lawsuits on their behalf when negligent behavior on the part of the driver may have played a role. In some cases, the carrier itself could be held financially responsible, such as where it failed to properly maintain its fleet and a lack of repairs was the cause of the accident.

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