Horton, Ballard & Pemerton PLLCHorton, Ballard
& Pemerton PLLC
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Traffic deaths down in 2017 despite jump in fatal truck accidents

Motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians had a somewhat safer year on the roads of Tennessee according to a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. After worrisome increases in traffic deaths nationwide in 2015 and 2016, fatalities went down by almost 2 percent in 2017. Drops in deadly passenger car, motorcycle or pedestrian accidents contributed to the improvement, but the number of deadly truck accidents actually went up, and urban areas have surpassed rural areas in traffic deaths.

Data collected by the Fatality Analysis Reporting System for 2017 showed a 5.8 percent increase in deaths arising from wrecks that involved SUVs or tractor-trailers. Deadly accidents involving large trucks that were not necessarily commercial vehicles jumped a significant 18.7 percent in 2017.

An administrator at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said that strong economic activity increases the number of trucks transporting goods. With more trucks driving more miles, the opportunity for accidents goes up.

Although the bulk of deadly accidents used to happen in rural areas, dense traffic in urban areas has set the scene for more deadly crashes. Competition for space among trucks, cars, bicyclists and pedestrians has produced a 17.4 percent increase in traffic deaths in urban locations.

Every driver has a legal responsibility to obey traffic laws, maintain sobriety and exercise caution behind the wheel. When a negligent driver injures a person, the victim might suffer significant financial setbacks caused by inability to work and high medical bills. Liable parties, like an insurance company, might push back against the person's pursuit of damages, but an attorney knowledgeable about motor vehicle accidents may be able to navigate these challenges. Legal support may help protect a person from accepting an inadequate settlement. An attorney might organize evidence about the accident and use it to file a lawsuit that seeks a higher payout.

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