FMCSA reports rise in dump, ready-mix concrete truck crashes

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has some crash data out for 2016 that should be of interest to truck drivers in New Mexico. In that year, the latest for which there are statistics, the number of serious accidents among dump trucks and ready-mix concrete delivery trucks rose by 9 percent and 9.6 percent, respectively. (By a "serious" crash is meant one where the truck had to be towed away.)

In all, there were 8,206 serious dump truck crashes and 838 ready-mix concrete truck crashes. Dump truck crashes that caused injury went up 2.7 percent to a total of 5,483. This includes dump trucks used for non-construction purposes. For ready-mix concrete trucks, the rate increased 3.8 percent.

Fatal accidents involving dump trucks declined from 369 in 2015 to 367 in 2016, but those involving the concrete trucks went from 33 to 38. These accident rates reflect a multi-industry issue where truck drivers are sometimes encouraged, through by-the-load incentives, to act negligently behind the wheel. This has meant more and more cases of phone use behind the wheel, drowsy driving and speeding.

In the early 2000s, the efforts of federal regulators and insurance companies managed to lower accident rates among these types of trucks. These efforts included improved technology and more effective driver safety campaigns. Further efforts, though, have stalled over the past decade.

Trucker negligence is to blame for many trucking accidents. Under the state's comparative negligence rule, victims of another's negligence can file a personal injury claim, but the amount they will be eligible for will be determined by their own degree of fault. Victims may want to hire a lawyer who can negotiate on their behalf for the maximum settlement and take the case to court if one cannot be achieved. A successful claim might cover vehicle repair costs, medical bills, lost wages and more.

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