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Skyrocketing truck accident rate sends startling message

After being inspected in 2012, 4.89 percent of truck drivers were taken off the road for having too many violations. That may not sound like many drivers, but it actually amounts to more than 171,000 drivers. Similarly, more than 20 percent of trucks were taken off the road after inspection in 2012 because the vehicle had too many violations. That amounts to the staggering figure of 2,145,733 trucks.

All of these statistics were provided by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and they show that the trucking industry isn't exactly the safest industry in the world. But more than just employing unsafe drivers and owning unsafe vehicles, this industry affects the lives of thousands of innocent people on the road -- and their families -- every year.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that 3,921 people died in 2012 as a result of a truck accident. Another 104,000 people were injured in truck accidents in that year. Despite a 2.86 percent reduction in trucks on the road, a 2.67 percent reduction in the annual distance traveled for trucks, and a 1.74 percent reduction in fatal car accidents (all figures from 2009 to 2012), fatal truck wrecks jumped 18 percent.

Truck accidents are sharply trending in the wrong direction, even though a number of factors would imply the contrary. The trucking industry is simply dangerous, and the people involved need to take a hard look at their safety regulations, as well as the quality of the truck drivers they employ.

Source: NBC News, "Truck Accidents Surge, But There's No National Outcry," Eamon Javers and Jennifer Schlesinger, Aug. 1, 2014

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