The number of buses and large trucks involved in fatal collisions in New Jersey and around the country has been increasing steadily, and 2015 was particularly deadly according to figures from the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Administration. The agency has reported that 4,311 commercial large and buses were involved in fatal accidents in 2015, which represents an 8 percent year-over-year increase. The rate at which those vehicles were involved in deadly crashes per 100 million miles traveled also increased from 1.34 to 1.45 according to the report.
The FMCSA bases its annual report on data provided by NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System, which began compiling fatal accident statistics in 1975. The deadliest year on record for fatal truck collisions was 2005 when 5,231 semi trucks and buses crashed, but stricter regulations, more effective law enforcement and improving auto safety systems helped to lower that figure by 34 percent between 2005 and 2009.
However, highway congestion has increased in recent years as a vibrant economy and low fuel prices have prompted more Americans to take to the roads, and this additional traffic contributed to a 20 percent rise in fatal truck and bus accidents between 2009 and 2015. Traffic accident fatalities across all vehicle segments increased by a worrying 7 percent in 2015, and road safety experts expect the road fatality statistics for 2016 to be even more concerning.
While fatigued, distracted or intoxicated truck drivers are responsible for many tractor-trailer accidents, others are caused by poor maintenance or defective safety equipment. Experienced personal injury attorneys who are pursuing litigation on behalf of truck accident victims may study accident and police reports carefully to determine the sequence of events and identify the negligent party or parties.
Source: National Public Radio, “2015 Traffic Fatalities Rose By Largest Percent In 50 Years, Safety Group Says”, Bill Chappell, Feb. 18, 2016