Overall traffic fatalities are down, but truck-related deaths rise

Massachusetts outpaces national average in reducing overall accident deaths

The overall picture when it comes to transportation safety in both Massachusetts and across the United States is an encouraging one based on recently released federal data. Overall traffic fatalities declined in 2013 in both the commonwealth and the country in 2013, according to MassLive, with alcohol-related crashes down substantially. Despite the good news, however, federal authorities caution that truck accident fatalities have bucked the national trend and actually rose in 2013 for the fourth consecutive year.

Traffic fatalities down

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that traffic fatalities declined by 15 percent in Massachusetts in 2013, well outpacing the 3.1 percent decline seen nationally. Likewise, alcohol-related traffic deaths went down by 8.5 percent in the commonwealth compared to the national 2.5 percent decline.

Massachusetts State Police say the declines are due to a number of factors, such as vehicles with better safety designs and increased education campaigns against drunk driving. The police also note that there has been increased seat belt use in recent years and that medical advances have also helped save lives.

Truck accident fatalities up

Unfortunately, not all of the data released by federal authorities regarding highway safety was encouraging. Fatalities caused by truck accidents rose in 2013, the fourth consecutive year that they have done so, according to Transport Topics. In 2013, 3,964 people were killed in truck-related accidents. The biggest victims were non-occupants involved in large-truck crashes. While large-truck occupant fatalities decreased nationally by nearly one percent, for non-occupants fatalities shot up by 13 percent.

The news comes just as more attention has grown concerning truck safety following the fatal accident involving comedian Tracy Morgan last year. In December, safety advocates, as well as the U.S. Department of Transportation, decried a move by Congress that temporarily suspended trucking regulations that had limited the number of hours truck drivers were allowed on the road. Authorities warned the regulations were important to help combat the problem of truck driver fatigue, especially at a time when truck accident fatalities are climbing.

Accident representation

Being involved in an accident is never easy, but when the accident involve a large truck then the consequences can be devastating. Serious injuries often lead to pain and suffering that can last for months and even years to come. Many victims will also have to contend with high medical bills and the prospect of lost wages as they recovery from their injuries. To help ease this burden, a personal injury attorney should be consulted right away. Because truck accidents are especially complex, people involved in such an accident should reach out to an attorney who is best equipped to represent the rights and interests of such accident victims.