The Dangers of Sharing the Road with Large Commercial Trucks

It was 3:41 AM on Interstate 76 eastbound, close to the Barber Road overpass. Norton police responded to an accident that left a semi-truck ablaze. The truck was positioned in the left contra-flow lane of a construction zone. According to police, the driver of the rig was traveling to New York from Chicago and carrying 20,000 pounds of plastic. The truck hit the actuator and the concrete barrier.

Commercial truck accidents are some of the most dangerous and destructive crashes on the road today. The reasons are somewhat obvious. A semi-truck, fully loaded, can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. Many passenger vehicles weigh little more than 3000 pounds. The impact between these two types of vehicles leaves a passenger vehicle with a huge disadvantage. As well, a semi-truck or tractor-trailer’s weight makes them inherently difficult to maneuver safely when quick action is needed to avert obstacles or travel through tight situations. In addition the stopping distance of a big rig is considerably longer than for small passenger car.

Sobering annual truck crash statistics

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics show that each year approximately 4000 motorists die due to accidents involving large trucks (including medium and heavy trucks, but excluding motorhomes and buses), with about 100,000 people seriously injured in these accidents. Of the fatalities, about 17 percent are occupants of the truck and 83 percent are passenger vehicle occupants.

The size and height of large trucks

In a large truck accident, the force with which tractor-trailers can impact the average vehicle is due to their 10 to 20 time weight advantage. In addition, the height of these trailers allows many smaller cars to fit underneath the lower edge of the trailer causing an impact directly into the windshield which can easily result in severe traumatic injuries and even death.

Adding to the existing dangers mentioned above regarding truck size and weight, many truck drivers are forced to deal with lengthy hauls encompassing thousands of miles that leave them on the road are too long without proper time for sleep. Although many federal and state regulations are in place that mandate drivers get the sleep they need, situations exist in which trucking companies and drivers fail to follow these regulations for the purpose of making deliveries on-time and meeting the company’s bottom line. This can lead to fatal truck accidents. Tired and distracted truck drivers present a real danger to themselves and others on the roads and highways across the nation.

The impact of large truck crashes involving semis and 18 wheelers can be especially devastating to occupants of passenger vehicles involved in the accident. If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in a truck accident involving the negligence of the truck driver or trucking company, you may have the right to obtain compensation for your injuries and other losses. At Crandall & Pera Law, we are here to fight on your behalf for the financial recovery you deserve. To set up a free case evaluation, send us a request through our contact form, or call our Kentucky or Ohio office today at 877.686.8879.