Big rigs or large trucks are undoubtedly an essential and critical part of our nation’s economy. They perform the vital function of transporting goods to and from manufacturers and retailers. However, these large trucks also pose a significant danger to other vehicles on our roadways because of their size, weight, speed and large blind spots. Large trucks weigh more than 10,000 pounds and can be either single-unit vehicles or combination vehicles consisting of a single-unit truck or tractor pulling one or more trailers.
Large Truck Accident Statistics
According to the Federal Highway Administration, in 2017, large trucks accounted for 4% of registered vehicles and 9% of vehicle miles traveled. In 2018, 4,136 people died in large truck accidents. About 67% of these fatalities were passenger vehicle occupants and 15% were bicyclists, pedestrians or motorcyclists. In fatal two-vehicle crashes involving a passenger vehicle and a large truck, 96% of the deaths were occupants of the passenger vehicles. Large trucks were involved in 11% of all traffic accident deaths and 22% of passenger vehicle occupant deaths in multi-vehicle crashes.
What Makes Trucks More Dangerous?
Here are some of the features of large trucks that make them more dangerous than other vehicles on our roadways:
Large blind spots: Tractor-trailers and semi-trucks have a number of blind spots on all sides. This prevents the drivers from being able to see other vehicles around them. A truck driver’s blind spots are on either side, in the rear and sometimes in the front of the truck. While it is widely accepted that driving large trucks is a challenge, having blind spots is no excuse for a driver to be negligent (careless). In fact, it’s all the more reason why truck drivers should be vigilant and pay attention to the roadway at all times.
Braking distance: Because of their weight and size, large trucks need a lot more room and time than a passenger vehicle to decelerate and brake. Most cars need about 300 feet of space to come to a complete stop. A loaded truck typically requires more than twice that amount of distance to come to a complete stop. This is why truckers have to be extremely attentive and hit the brakes at the right time, especially in crowded traffic, to avoid hitting the vehicle in front.
Driver fatigue: Truck drivers are usually on the road for long periods of time, often without a break. Now, with the coronavirus pandemic, the Trump Administration has loosened the federal Hours of Service (HOS) regulations to help these trucks deliver essential items and medical supplies on time. But, driver fatigue still remains a huge problem. Drowsy driving is as dangerous as drunk driving especially when someone is operating a large vehicle that can cause significant injuries and damage.
Poor maintenance: Large trucks have a number of parts and require frequent maintenance. Truck drivers and trucking companies have a duty to inspect their vehicles for any issues and make the necessary repairs so they are in good working order when they hit the road. This applies to all truck components such as brakes, tires, lights and reflectors.
Contacting an Experienced Lawyer
Victims who have been injured in truck accidents may be able to seek compensation for damages including, but not limited to, medical expenses, lost income and benefits, hospitalization, rehabilitation, permanent injuries, disabilities, past and future pain and suffering, etc. Families of deceased accident victims may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit seeking compensation for damages such as lost future income, funeral costs, medical expenses, pain and suffering, etc.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, or if you have lost a loved one in a motor vehicle accident caused by a negligent or careless driver, the experienced New York personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options, and also fight hard to recover just compensation for you.
For over 48 years, our skilled accident attorneys have established a proven track record of helping injured victims. Our law firm recently recovered $5,600,000 for a bicyclist who was hit by a van, and $2,550,000 for another victim of a truck accident, and $3,000,000 for a pedestrian who was hit by a car, and the full $1,000,000 insurance policy for a pedestrian who was hit by a truck, and $4,625,000 for a driver who was in a car and was hit by a van, and $2,500,000 for a man who fell through an improperly secured hole. Also, one of our clients obtained a verdict for $43,940,000 and another of our clients got a verdict for $23,500,000, both in medical malpractice cases.
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