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Factors in large truck crashes

According to research sponsored by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, defects in large trucks significantly raise the chances of being in an accident in California and the rest of the nation. Additional factors in the crashes include claiming the short-haul exemption to circumvent federal hours-of-service rules and driving for excessive hours.

The number people who died in 2015 as a result of crashes in which large trucks were a factor total 3,852. The occupants of trucks made up 16 percent of the deaths, while the occupants of passenger vehicles accounted for 69 percent. The remaining 15 percent included motorcyclists, pedestrians and bicyclists.

For several years, the IIHS has been reviewing serious accidents involving large trucks, and the outlook has gotten better. However, its research indicates that truck drivers are still operating their vehicle while they are tired and that the trucks are still unsafe. After studying large truck crashes that occurred in Washington in the 1980s, the IIHS determined that tractor-trailers that had faulty equipment had two times the chances of crashing than trucks that had no defects.

That research has been updated with the results from the latest study, which examines how the short-haul exemption affects the risk of crashing. Drivers who are eligible to apply for the exemption include those who are employed by an interstate carrier, work no further than 100 miles from their work base, work fewer than 12 hours daily and do not drive overnight routes.

Individuals who sustain injuries as a result of accidents involving large trucks may have legal recourse. A personal injury attorney may work to obtain financial compensation from the negligent parties responsible for defective truck parts, inadequate maintenance or unqualified drivers. Negligent truck drivers may be pursued for drowsy or distracted driving.

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