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Semi crashes: An ongoing tragedy

Nebraska drivers know that safe driving requires constant focus. A distracted driver can wreak havoc within seconds, particularly at high speeds. The risks of a traffic accident are significantly greater when a semi is involved because of the weight and momentum of the big rig.

A moment of negligence on the truck driver's part can lead to injuries, heartbreak, fatalities and other long-term consequences for all parties involved. The Omaha World-Herald clearly illustrated the tremendous dangers of negligent driving in its August report of a catastrophic accident on Interstate 80 caused by a distracted truck driver. The driver failed to slow down in a construction zone and fatally struck a minivan that carried a family of five. The forward motion of the two vehicles caused them to collide with several other cars in the vicinity, resulting in a sixth fatality. The Omaha World-Herald noted that this devastating "crash was the worst in Nebraska" in nearly a decade.

Unfortunately, such tragedies are not uncommon. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there were 3,978 buses and large trucks involved in deadly traffic accidents nationwide in 2014, the last year for which data are available.

In 34 percent of the large truck crashes in 2014, one or more driver-related factors contributed to the crash. Between 2009 and 2014, the FMCSA found a significant increase in the number of crashes involving semis that resulted in injuries. These numbers speak to the severity of traffic accidents and the potential for injuries, deaths and suffering to occur when semis are involved.

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