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Trucking accidents are on the decline in the United States

American highways are getting safer -- at least when it comes to truck accidents.

According to data from the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for 2016, there have been some significant decreases in the number of fatal accidents involving large trucks. That's despite the fact that there are about a million more of those big rigs on the road than there were less than a decade before.

Comparing data that was available in 2007 with data compiled from 2016, this is the picture that emerges:

  • There were eight percent fewer fatalities from accidents with big rigs in 2016.
  • The average number of fatalities for every 100 million miles covered by big rigs fell from 2.7 percent to 1.34 percent.
  • There were seven percent more large trucks on the road in 2016.
  • When fatalities do occur, the trucker is not at fault 73 percent of the time. Accidents are more likely to be caused by another vehicle, animal or object.

What's making the change? Industry insiders say that some improvements come from better regulations that are forcing drivers (and the companies they work for) to adhere to safety standards. Electronic logs are making it harder, for example, for drivers to exceed the number of hours they can safely be behind the wheel of a big rig.

Other improvements include technological advances like anti-rollover systems, equipment that can automatically detect other vehicles in front of a truck (even in blind spots), stability control, cameras and lane-departure technology. The trucks themselves are simply safer than they were a decade or more ago.

That doesn't mean, however, that bad accidents don't happen and truck drivers are never responsible. It's increasingly important, however, to get experienced legal advice following an accident with a big rig or another commercial vehicle, as insurance companies are increasingly quick to blame anyone other than the truck driver for an accident.

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