The vast majority of fatal truck accidents in Tennessee and around the country are caused by passenger vehicle drivers or obstacles in the roadway according to the latest Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts report from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The federal safety agency’s figures reveal that 73 percent of the fatal truck and bus accidents that took place in 2016 were caused by vehicles, people or animals that were either in the truck or bus’s lane or strayed into it.

According to the FMCSA report, 4,074 trucks were involved in accidents that claimed 4,317 lives in 2016. Truck and bus accident fatalities fell by 34 percent between 2005 and 2009, but they have since risen by a sobering 28 percent. While the number of large trucks involved in deadly crashes rose by 3 percent in 2016 according to the FMCSA figures, the fatal accident rate per 100 million miles traveled remained the same.

The figures also show that most fatal motor vehicle accidents involving trucks or buses in 2016 occurred on interstate highways and in rural areas rather than on busy city streets. In addition to killing 4,317 road users, truck and bus accidents in 2016 caused 145,000 injuries. This figure represents an alarming 25 percent increase over the 2015 injury figures.

Police investigations into deadly truck crashes are generally thorough, and experienced attorneys can use the findings of accident investigators to establish liability in lawsuits filed on behalf of those who have been harmed. These reports may reveal that the truck driver was intoxicated or distracted, and they could also indicate whether or not the commercial vehicle involved had been properly maintained. Attorneys could also scrutinize hours of service logs to determine if fatigue may have played a role.