All across Indiana, passenger vehicles must share the road with large trucks and other commercial vehicles. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Association is a non-profit organization, which focuses on safety issues for these large vehicles and their interactions with others on the road. Accident Statistics According to CVSA statistics, accidents where at least one large truck or bus was involved claimed 13,337 lives from 2007 though 2009. Injuries totaled 260,028 during the same time period. In more than seven out of ten of the accidents that led to death or injury, a passenger vehicle was also involved. Considering that more than 864,000 large commercial vehicles were involved in a crash during that three-year period, it is fortunate that the toll was not higher. Passenger vehicles and their occupants do not fare well in collisions with buses or large trucks. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that in multi-vehicle collisions resulting in the death of an occupant of a passenger vehicle, almost one- fourth of the deaths occurred in crashes involving a large truck. In fatal large truck accidents, 26 percent of those who die are young people aged 16 to 25. The State of Indiana has also assembled and analyzed data for the improvement of highway safety for Hoosier drivers. According to the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute- Traffic Safety Division’s “2011 Factbook”, large trucks were involved in 13,841 accidents in Indiana in 2011—143 of them were fatal accidents. Although large trucks were involved in only 4% of the total number of accidents in the state, these vehicles were involved in 13% of the fatal collisions. Trying to Reverse the Trend Concerned about the accident statistics, in 2007 the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration joined with the CVSA and law enforcement agencies across the country to promote Operation Safe Driver. This campaign aims to reduce the number of fatalities caused by accidents involving passenger vehicles, large trucks and buses. One component of Operation Safe Driver is enhanced enforcement of seat belt use and other traffic laws. The program also incorporates roadside safety inspections for large trucks and their drivers and stresses that commercial drivers must observe regulations that promote safety. Driver Awareness Matters Safety awareness extends to everyone on the road. While Operation Safe Driver provides educational and awareness programs for commercial drivers, it is also educating all drivers in Indiana and across the nation about how to drive safely near large trucks and buses. The sheer size of a bus or large truck can be daunting for the driver of a nearby passenger vehicle. Motorists who witness a motor vehicle accident involving a large truck may be even more likely to be fearful about driving near these large vehicles on the road. Operation Safe Driver’s educational campaign is meant to encourage drivers of passenger vehicles to drive cautiously around large trucks and buses. Resources for Accident Victims Anyone who is injured in a commercial vehicle accident can count on an experienced personal injury attorney to help recover losses. When a driver’s negligence caused the accident, it is possible to recover damages covering not just medical expenses, but also pain and suffering and lost wages.
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