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FMCSA Releases Annual Truck and Bus Crash Report

Casper, Meadows, Schwartz & Cook

Accidents involving buses or heavy commercial vehicles kill or injure hundreds of California residents every year, and figures reported by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reveal that there were more than 400,000 accidents involving trucks in 2014. While the number of road users killed in these accidents was down 5 percent compared to 2013 figures, injuries were up by 21 percent.

The figures were published in the safety agency's annual report 'Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts." While the report does not delve into the causes of truck and bus accidents, it does provide urban planners and road safety advocates with a wealth of useful information. According to the FMCSA figures, more than 60 percent of the truck accidents in 2014 occurred on rural roads, and most of the drivers involved were between 25 and 66 years of age.

Fatal accidents involving commercial vehicles in 2014 were also far less likely to involve driver-related factors than deadly passenger vehicle crashes. The reduction in fatalities reported by the FMCSA continues a long-term trend. The annual death toll from accidents involving trucks has fallen by 39 percent since 2004. When asked to comment on the FMCSA report, a representative of the American Trucking Association welcomed the figures and urged lawmakers to set a national speed limit of 65 mph for large trucks.

The FMCSA report reveals that 66 percent of fatal truck accidents in 2014 did not involve driver-related factors. This indicates that many of these crashes may have been caused by truck defects or poor maintenance. Personal injury attorneys may scrutinize repair logs and maintenance schedules closely when initiating litigation on behalf of truck accident victims, and they may seek punitive damages when logistics companies may have cut corners to reduce costs and placed road users in jeopardy.