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On 11/5/20, the Iowa Association for Justice (f/k/a the Iowa Trial Lawyers Association) named Russ Hixson, of Hixson & Brown, the Outstanding Member Award recipient for 2020.

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FMCSA analyzes 2016 data on Fatal truck crashes

The number of fatal crashes involving large trucks and passenger vehicles appears to be on the rise. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has just released a data drill-down report on the fatal large-truck crashes that occurred in 2016, finding a 3 percent increase from the year before. Drivers in Iowa will want to know what the most common factors were.

First of all, the number of actual fatalities rose from 4,094 to 4,317, and the number of large trucks involved rose from 4,074 to 4,213. The truck involvement rate (how many trucks were in fatal crashes for every 100 million miles driven) remained the same at 1.46. About 300,000 more registered trucks were on America’s roads in 2016, bringing the total to 11.5 million.

73 percent of fatal crashes were precipitated by a driver, person, animal or object that either entered the truck driver’s lane or encroached upon it. Among driver-related factors, speeding and distracted driving were the most frequently discovered. 2 percent of truck drivers involved in crashes were found with a .08 percent or more BAC; this is contrasted with 20 percent of passenger vehicle drivers.

The majority of crashes took place on weekdays, between the hours of 6 pm and 6 am and in rural areas or interstate highways. The number of non-fatal crashes rose in 2016 from 83,000 to 104,000.

In the event of a fatal truck accident, a family member or other eligible dependent of the decedent could file a wrongful death suit against the trucking company. This is where a lawyer might be able to come in and assess the claim, determining if the decedent contributed to the accident (any degree of comparative negligence will void the claim). The lawyer might then bring in a network of professionals to build up proof against the trucker, proceeding to negotiations once the claim is ready.

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