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Kentucky motorists often see lots of big rigs on the road. Most truck drivers are responsible professionals, but accidents still happen.

An increase in truck crashes brings up statistics that drivers should keep in mind. It is a good idea to be alert and cautious around 18-wheelers since cars and trucks share the road every day.

By the numbers

According to data gathered by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, from 2005 to 2009, there was a drop in the number of injury-related large truck or bus crashes across the country. However, from 2009 to 2015, crashes involving large vehicles increased by 62 percent. Furthermore, the number of fatalities in car-truck crashes increased by 8 percent.

Surprising crash sites

You might think that most accidents involving big rigs occur on freeways and expressways. However, the FMCSA statistics show that about 60 percent of the fatalities reported resulted from truck crashes that occurred on rural roads or urban highways. Breaking down the numbers, we find that 21 percent of all crash-related injuries and 35 percent of all fatalities happened at night between 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. The majority of the fatal crashes — 83 percent — happened during the week and involved a vehicle in transport; in other words, a truck hauling cargo.

Work zone issues

Kentucky drivers often have to navigate highway work sites. The FMCSA numbers for 2015 indicate that large trucks were involved in 27 percent of fatal crashes and 11 percent of injury crashes that occurred in work zones.

Unseen dangers

Although overloading a truck violates several state and local regulations, the practice still goes on because there are profits to make. An overloaded truck is almost impossible to spot unless there is drifting or swerving; the overloaded cargo can cause an imbalance that makes the truck difficult to control.

Seeking legal help

Unfortunately, exercising caution around large trucks is not always sufficient. An experienced attorney will tell you that in a collision between a car and a big rig, the big rig usually wins, and serious injuries can result. This is when you need an advocate to ensure you receive fair compensation from the trucking company and any other negligent party who might bear responsibility for your injuries.