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Bad driving habits may explain dump truck crash increase

Many commercial truckers in New Jersey and across the U.S. engage in bad driving habits like speeding, distracted driving and operating while fatigued. The pressure of deadlines and the lure of by-the-load incentives play their part as well. While truck accident rates went down in the early 2000s as a result of improved technology and effective driver safety campaigns, those rates are coming back up as preventative efforts stall.

This trend has become especially apparent among dump trucks and ready-mix concrete delivery vehicles. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has released a report on the number of serious crashes involving these trucks in 2016 (the latest year for which complete data exists). The numbers came to 8,206 and 838, which were a 9 and 9.6 percent increase from 2015 for dump trucks and concrete delivery trucks, respectively.

These crashes were so serious that the truck in question was towed away. As for crashes that ended with injuries, their numbers rose 2.7 and 3.8 percent for dump trucks (5,483 crashes in all) and concrete delivery trucks, respectively. The year 2016 saw an increase from 33 to 38 fatal concrete delivery truck crashes but a slight decline from 369 to 367 fatal crashes among dump trucks.

Some experts are working to reduce fatigued driving and improve in-cab monitoring technology. These are generally good steps for reducing truck accidents.

Even with technology serving as a deterrent to negligent driving, truckers may engage in the practice anyway. Victims of a trucker's negligence may have a valid personal injury case, but they will want to consult with a lawyer beforehand. If retained, the lawyer could bring in third-party experts to bolster the case with evidence. Legal counsel could handle all negotiations, proceeding to litigation if a settlement cannot be reached.

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