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Motor vehicle accident deaths rise for trucks, decline overall

Drivers in Iowa may be safer on rural roads than urban ones. This was one of the findings of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which released its most recent Fatality Analysis Reporting System Data on Oct. 3. Overall, fatalities from motor vehicle accidents were down by 2 percent after a rise in 2015 and 2016, and pedestrian fatalities were down for the first time in five years by 1.7 percent. However, there was a significant increase in fatalities involving trucks.

Deaths involving tractor-trailers went up nearly 6 percent while fatalities in large straight truck accidents increased almost 19 percent from the previous year. There was also a 3 percent rise in SUV deaths. The large straight truck category includes both commercial and non-commercial vehicles, such as dual-wheel pickups.

One reason for the increase in truck deaths is a better economy, which means more vehicles, and specifically more commercial vehicles, are on the road. There also appears to be an issue with people in large trucks and seat belt compliance with 16 percent of those killed not wearing their seat belts. Alcohol-related crashes have decreased slightly, but crashes in which people have traces of opioids, prescription drugs or cannabis in their system are on the rise. Furthermore, the deputy administrator of the NHTSA warns that the 2017 fatality decrease is not yet a downward trend.

Another important consideration is that even when an accident is not fatal, it can lead to catastrophic and life-changing injuries. When people suffer from a traumatic brain injury, loss of limbs or other type of injury, they may need long-term or even lifelong care. Compensation is particularly important in getting needed medical care and quality of life for people who are severely injured in car accidents. An attorney may be able to assist a person in getting this needed compensation.

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