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Many factors affect risk in large truck crashes

The responsibilities of tractor trailer drivers in Louisiana extend far beyond the transportation of goods that is so essential to the nation's economy. The size, weight, ground clearance and cargo of these vehicles often make them serious hazards to others in a crash. Operating them requires more education and instruction than a regular motorist undergoes because they are more difficult to maneuver and stop in unexpected traffic situations.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, during 2015, the most recent year that casualty statistics are available, a full 10 percent of the crash deaths in Louisiana occurred in large truck accidents. Of those 73 deaths, only one was an occupant in a large truck. The others were occupants of other types of vehicles, motorcycle operators, bicyclists or pedestrians.

These accidents do not always involve passenger cars and other vulnerable people nearby. In fact, according to Fox News, a recent Louisiana collision involved two large vehicles: a tanker and a dump truck. Although authorities do not currently suspect that the driver of the 18-wheeler was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, a video indicates that he did not respond quickly enough to avoid rear-ending a slow-moving dump truck ahead of him.

Because the tanker's cargo was 8,000 gallons of gasoline, the crash led to an explosion which killed the driver of the dump truck at the scene of the accident. The semi-truck operator made it out of his vehicle with injuries and received treatment at a local hospital. Other facts about the collision are still under investigation.

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