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Statistics show dangers of truck accidents to other motorists


Since commercial trucks are built to haul large amounts of freight from place to place, they are large and powerful. With the ever-growing demand of businesses and industries to transport various items, the numbers of box trucks, tractor-trailers and 18-wheelers has grown over the years. Drivers on Maryland's roads and highways frequently travel next to big rigs with few problems. However, because of their large size, trucks can be deadly when they collide with smaller vehicles, both from the trucks themselves and the sometimes-hazardous cargos they carry.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 8,190,286 single-unit trucks or straight trucks and 2,469,094 combination trucks such as tractor-trailers traveled U.S. streets, roads and highways in 2012. That same year saw 30,800 fatal motor vehicle accidents in the country; of that number, 12 percent-nearly 3,700-involved at least one truck. Trucks were also involved with 367,000 nonfatal crashes in the United States.

As truck accidents often have catastrophic results, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and other government organizations are continually implementing new guidelines to improve road safety in a variety of ways, including mandatory safety training and requiring equipment and working with the states to enforce speed limits for trucks. However, some commercial truck drivers continue to disregard traffic laws just to meet deadlines or follow company policies. When drivers deviate from federal regulations and other laws, they put both their own and other people's lives at risk.

Any Maryland resident who has been involved in a truck accident and sustained serious injuries as a result may be eligible for compensation from the driver or his or her company, especially if the truck driver was at fault. In addition, truck accidents often involve more than one liable party, which can mean higher compensation for an accident victim.

Source: Dot.gov, "Pocket guide to large truck and bus statistics," Accessed on Dec. 17, 2014

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