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New Jersey trucker cited after 8-year-old is struck, killed

There were more than 241,000 traffic accidents in New Jersey last year, the lowest number of crashes since 1999, according state transportation officials. Over 60,000 statewide accidents involved injuries in 2012 and 525 collisions were fatal, among the lowest totals of the last 15 years.

What statistics don't show is the number of people affected by an accident - not only the victims who are hurt or killed, but the families facing a loved one's long recovery or loss. Emotional distress may be very high for parents of fatality victims, who are deprived the opportunity of watching a child grow up.

A New Jersey commercial driver was operating a tractor trailer through a neighborhood where children were walking to school. It was the final day of school before a long holiday vacation. An 8-year-old boy, carrying a small gift for his teacher, was with his sister at an intersection, two blocks from the siblings' residence and half a block from school.

There was no crossing guard at the crossing, although one was close by. The guard warned the brother and sister to wait for the light to change. As far as the guard knew, the boy did wait at least for a time, before the child was struck by a left-turning tractor trailer.

The sister was not struck by the vehicle.

An arrest was made. Charges were filed against a 51-year-old Newark truck driver for aggravated unlicensed driving and unsafe vehicle operation. The man's employer Roadtex Transportation Corp. had been named in several, previous accident liability lawsuits, some including losses of life.

Multiple government agencies, from local authorities to federal regulators, investigate serious commercial vehicle accidents. Truck companies, vehicle servicers, manufacturers and truck drivers all may be co-defendants in personal injury and wrongful death complaints. Each may be ordered to pay damages to individuals or families suffering following an accident injury or death.

Source: The New York Times, "Tractor-Trailer Kills 8-Year-Old Boy Walking to School in Queens" Michael Schwirtz and Rebecca White, Dec. 20, 2013

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