Wyoming residents who drive commercial vehicles may be interested to learn that fatal truck accidents increased slightly in 2016. The increase was 3 percent over 2015, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Administration.

While the number of large trucks involved in fatal trucking accidents increased, the fatality rate per 1 million miles driven remained the same at 1.46. Other vehicles, people, animals or objects in the trucker’s lane or nearby was a factor in 73 percent of the fatal truck collisions. The agency also noted that 722 occupants of large trucks died in 2016, an increase over 2015’s 665. Overall, 4,317 people died in truck crashes in 2016, compared to 4,097 the year before.

While most (61 percent) of the fatal trucking accidents occurred in rural areas, 27 percent were on interstate freeways. About 15 percent occurred on rural interstates. More than a third of the crashes took place at night. Trucks pulling a trailer were involved in 62 percent of the fatal accidents.

The Federal Motor Carrier Administration defines large trucks as those weighing 10,000 pounds or greater. The number of registered trucks increased by 300,000 to 11.5 million in 2015.

Alcohol was a factor in some fatal trucking accidents; 3 percent of drivers had a blood-alcohol content level between 0.01 percent and 0.08 percent. Another 2 percent had a content level higher than 0.08 percent.

The surviving family members of a victim killed in a fatal trucking accident caused by negligent truck driving may be eligible for benefits through a wrongful death suit. The compensation may include death benefits and wage replacement if the victim was the family’s breadwinner. A personal injury attorney could explain claim eligibility and assist survivors with the filing process.