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NHTSA preliminary report: truck crash fatalities rise in 2018

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in its preliminary report for 2018, estimates that large truck accident fatalities have risen 3% when compared to 2017. While this is not as great as the 9% jump experienced between 2016 and 2017, it is still an unfortunate discovery. Ohio residents should know that motor vehicle crash fatalities went down by about 1% in 2018.

Specifically, NHTSA estimates that 36,750 people died in motor vehicle accidents in 2018. At the same time, the number of miles traveled in the U.S. went up that year to 12.2 billion miles: an increase of 0.004%. The report does not give a specific number for large truck crash fatalities. Other areas that saw an increase were bicyclist deaths (an estimated 4%) and pedestrian deaths (10%).

As for what region saw the highest increase in traffic fatalities, that would be New England (4% year over year). The upper Midwest, including Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio, saw the best results with a 5% year-over-year decrease.

Assuming the estimates are accurate, 2018 is the second year in a row to experience an overall decrease in traffic fatalities. The reasons for the rise in fatal truck crashes are probably many. There may, for example, be more drugged, distracted or drowsy truckers on the road.

When such negligence leads to fatal truck accidents, victims' families may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If successful, a family might be reimbursed for pre-death medical expenses, burial expenses and loss of support or consortium. It may be difficult to get the trucking company to offer reasonable compensation, so those who intend to file a lawsuit might want to consult with an attorney.

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