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Missouri motorists may be interested in roadway safety data that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has collected from 2017. While the car crash death rate went down last year, the fatality rate for large truck crashes went up. As the sole negative trend, it deserves special attention.

Large truck crashes led to 9 percent more deaths in 2017 (4,761) than in 2016 (4,369). Multi-vehicle accidents involving large trucks went up 8.8 percent.

By large trucks, NHTSA means trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating exceeding 10,000 pounds. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the number of fatal collisions with trucks weighing between 10,000 and 14,000 pounds doubled in 2017.

Most of the trucks involved in fatal crashes weighed below 26,000 pounds and may or may not have been regulated by the FMCSA. Car occupant and non-occupant deaths increased by 7.6 percent. Large truck occupants, on the other hand, made up 16 percent more of the fatalities than in the previous year.

By contrast, passenger vehicle accidents declined by 1.4 percent. Motorcyclist, pedestrian and bicyclist deaths also decreased (by 3.1, 1.7 and 8.1 percent, respectively). Speeding-related deaths saw a 5.6 percent decrease. Deaths resulting from distracted driving crashes also dropped but composed 8.5 percent of all traffic deaths.

In the wake of a fatal truck accident, the family of the decedent may want to consult with a lawyer experienced in wrongful death law. A lawyer could hire third parties to investigate the crash and gather the truck driver’s work log and maintenance records. This information could be used to negotiate for a higher settlement.