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NHTSA numbers show fewer fatalities overall, more truck deaths

People and pedestrians might be safer on Georgia roadways in 2018 than they were in 2015 and 2016, but those in trucks might be in more danger. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released 2017 figures on motor vehicle accident fatalities that showed the reversal of an upward trend in traffic deaths from 2015 and 2016. Preliminary figures from the first half of 2018 show a continuation of this trend.

However, fatalities involving SUVs were up 3 percent while those involving tractor-trailers increased 5.8 percent. For large trucks weighing more than 10,000 pounds, there was an 18.7 percent increase. Not all of the trucks in this last category are regulated, but an improved economy means that more commercial vehicles are on the road, and this could account for some of this increase. Seat belt compliance also appears to be a problem with 16 percent more people killed in large truck accidents not wearing them in 2017 compared to 2016.

There were several other changes. While fatalities used to be more common on rural roads, in 2016 and 2017, the trend shifted to more urban fatalities. There was also a slight decrease in alcohol-related fatalities, but more people in accidents have prescription drugs, opioids or cannabis in their system.

Some truck crashes may be caused by drivers who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol as well as drivers who are fatigued or those whose trucks are poorly maintained. If a person is injured in an accident in which another party is at fault, the driver and the trucking company may both be financially liable for medical bills and other economic and non-economic losses. Victims might want to meet with an attorney to learn more about their rights in this regard.

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