The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released data comparing the number of traffic accident fatalities in 2016 and 2017. The number of overall fatalities dropped as well as the number of passenger car accident deaths. The number of traffic deaths in crashes involving large trucks, though, increased year over year. Large truck accidents on roadways in California and across the U.S. are likely to be more severe than other crashes because of the size of the trucks and their momentum at speed.

The total number of traffic accident deaths dropped from 37,806 in 2016 to 37,133 in 2017. There were 4,761 deaths in wrecks involving large trucks in 2017, which is 392 more deaths that occurred due to large truck crashes in 2016. That represents an increase of 9 percent. In reviewing the data, large trucks included all trucks with a gross weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds.

An administrator with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said that the way large trucks were defined includes many vehicles that may not be regulated by the FMCSA. Trucks with weight ratings less than 26,000 pounds may not be subject to FMCSA regulations.

All other categories of motor vehicle accidents saw a decline between 2016 and 2017. Passenger car crash fatalities dropped by 1.4 percent, motorcycle accident deaths were 3.1 percent lower and pedestrian deaths decreased by 1.7 percent.

In a case where a person is killed in a large truck accident, members of his or her family might be able to file a civil claim for wrongful death. An attorney with experience in personal injury law might be able to help by gathering evidence or deposing witnesses in anticipation of trial. A lawyer might negotiate a settlement with at-fault parties and their insurers or draft and file a claim for damages on the client’s behalf.