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Safety advocates fight to limit truck size

By design, trucks are meant for heavy-duty work and delivering products and services in and out of Billings, Montana. Even though a truck accident is not as common as an accident involving other vehicles, a truck accident can cause a lot of damage. Serious injuries and death are possible because, unlike other motor vehicles, trucks, given their size, are harder to maneuver during a dangerous situation.

According to the Traffic Safety Coalition, Montana was among the 15 states with the highest number of truck-related fatalities in 2011. In a national survey conducted by Lake Research Partners, which was released by the TSC, 68 percent of respondents were against heavier trucks on the road and 47 percent strongly opposed. As for the damages caused by heavier trucks, 88 percent were against paying higher taxes because of such accidents. More than 4,000 people die each year because of truck accidents.

Some truck accident victims believe that trucking companies are more focused on revenue than on the safety of the people on the road. According to one safety activist, truckers are prone to distraction on the road because of fatigue. Many truck drivers work 11-hour shifts. Electronic logging devices can help ensure that drivers do not drive past their intended number of working hours.

One woman believes that the accident that took the life of her husband was avoidable. A new bill, Safe Highways and Infrastructure Act, aims to tighten restrictions on trucks. This includes limitations on size and weight and it aims to get the overweight trucks off the road. Additionally, a mother of a victim calls for higher insurance levels for trucks. Her son suffered permanent partial disability because of a collision with a truck.

For the victims and their families, truck accidents can be costly and emotionally devastating. Medication and treatment expenses are common challenges suffered by truck accident victims. These accidents can also result in funeral expenses and lost opportunities. Although money cannot reverse all the consequences of a truck accident, an accident victim may file a lawsuit to get fair compensation to cover accident-related expenses.

Source: Consumer Affairs, "Safety advocates urge Congress to regulate the size of trucks," Daryl Nelson, May 9, 2013

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