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A fatal accident in Cripple Creek left one person dead earlier this month. The accident involved a semi-truck and a passenger vehicle. Unfortunately, in these situations, the passenger vehicle is likely to incur the most damage.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Highway Loss Data Institute, just under 4,000 individuals were killed in accidents involving large trucks in 2016. Two-thirds of those deaths were occupants of passenger vehicles, while only 17 percent were occupants of large trucks (the remaining 16 percent consisted of pedestrians, motorcycle riders, and bicyclists).

If you or a family member were injured in a truck/passenger vehicle accident, the truck driver may very well be at fault. There are a number of things that can cause a truck driver to lose control of his vehicle and cause an accident, including:

Lack of sleep

Truck drivers work long hours while traveling many miles. Even though federal regulations are in place that limit the number of hours a driver can work without stopping for rest, these regulations are not always followed.

Many times a truck driver is paid per mile, rather than per hour. This means the driver will make more money per day the more miles he drives that day, which can lead to him driving longer hours than he should.

And 29 percent of U.S. drivers admit that they have driven when they are too sleepy to keep their eyes open, according to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Lack of experience

Trucking companies will often hire new, inexperienced truck drivers since they can usually pay them a lower wage than experienced drivers. An inexperienced driver may not have the experience to react appropriately in an emergency situation, or may not be aware of hazardous intersections or road conditions.

Improperly loaded cargo

If cargo is not loaded properly in the back of a truck, it may shift unexpectedly due to a sharp turn or a sudden stop, causing the truck to be difficult to maneuver or to jackknife.

Distracted driving

Distracted driving continues to be a major concern. In 2015, almost 400,000 people were injured in car accidents caused by distracted drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Put that distracted driver behind the wheel of a 70-80 foot long vehicle that can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, and you have a very dangerous driving situation in the making.

Remember, distracted driving is not just texting and driving. Eating, petting your dog, changing the music on your phone – anything that requires the driver to take his eyes off the road for more than a few seconds – is considered distracted driving.

If you have been in an accident with a semi-truck and believe that the driver was at fault, you may be able to take legal action against the driver and/or his employer.

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