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Safety spotlight: bus/truck accidents, avoidance measures

Recently released safety data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration readily reveal that, regardless of what serves as the primary catalyst in a given accident involving a large commercial vehicle and a smaller passenger vehicle, the outcome is all too often the same.

"[T]he truck always wins" is the way that such a crash outcome is termed in a recent article discussing traffic accidents featuring commercial trucking rigs and buses.

For obvious reasons, that's hardly surprising, is it?

But it certainly is worrisome, as noted by the comment of FMCSA Chief Safety Officer Jack Van Steenburg that, "Trucks and buses are overrepresented in traffic crashes."

Van Steenburg and other safety regulators want a stronger and more enduring focus to be placed on big commercial vehicles and accident avoidance, especially in states like California, which the FMCSA has identified as a state where fatal vehicle accidents are highly concentrated.

Here's just one statistic among many that spotlights the serious nature of crashes nationally involving buses and large trucks: Reportedly, such accidents killed on average nearly a dozen people a day in 2013.

Notably, a number of the fatal accident victims were pedestrians and bicyclists, populations that are of special concern to safety regulators. The FMCSA recommends a complete separation of motorized and non-motorized traffic whenever possible.

What's driving such accidents is both a figurative and literal concern that safety officials are probing. Their focus ranges widely from alcohol/drug use and reckless driving behaviors to infrastructure shortcomings (for example, bad roadway lighting and intersection-related problems) and vehicle maintenance issues.

The FMCSA discussed accident findings and safety recommendations in a recent online webinar presentation.

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