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As truck crashes go up, speeding may be major factor

Speeding may be behind the rise in truck crash numbers that many states are experiencing. Pennsylvania residents should know that many of these crashes are fatal, usually for the occupants of passenger vehicles: The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has said that occupants of smaller vehicles compose 72% of all fatalities in collisions between trucks and other vehicles.

Florida has seen an especially sharp rise from 23,515 truck crashes in 2014 to 32,513 four years later. The Florida Department of Transportation said that speeding was the top driver-related factor in these crashes. It seems that many truckers speed as a way to make up for lost miles as most are paid by the mile rather than by the hour.

As a way to reduce crashes, some trucking companies are looking to safety devices. Maverick Transportation, a company based in the Midwest, has installed devices like collision warning systems, lane departure warning, roll stability control and in-cab cameras in its fleet of 1,800 trucks. In 2018, the company only had to report one accident to the DoT.

The fact that Maverick also set its speed limiters at 65 mph may have contributed to this positive development. Many groups advocate the use of speed limiters, even pushing for a federal rule mandating their use on heavy-duty trucks.

Most vehicle safety devices are not required by law, but if employers neglect their use altogether, they may find themselves facing a claim under trucking accident law. Employers will be responsible for those times when their employees speed or drive distracted, drowsy or impaired. Those injured by the trucker may want a lawyer's assistance to build up the case with evidence and negotiate a fair settlement. Victims of trucker negligence may take the case to court if the trucking company refuses to pay out.

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