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Big Trucks Threaten Highway Safety

Big Trucks Threaten Highway Safety

We all know the feeling: that uncomfortable tightening of the chest we get when we look into our rear view mirror and see an 80,000-pound 18-wheeler truck barreling down on our back bumper. This feeling is downright scary! According to federal statistics, such vehicles cause thousands of collisions each year. Given their size and weight, common sense tells us that a crash between a big rig and a car, minivan or even an SUV is likely to turn out badly for all parties involved. In such accidents, fatalities occur in the automobile 98% of the time. These events are equivalent to a major airplane accident every other week of the year!

Some of the reasons are obvious. Trucks are bigger, heavier, longer; harder to maneuver and require a lot more stopping distance than cars. Many of these accidents are caused by the same  “run-of-the-mill” variety as ordinary drivers deal with on a daily basis, e.g. poorly maintained vehicles, speeding, aggressive driving, inattentive/distracted drivers, failure to yield the right-of-way and or
bad weather. One cause that should hopefully be eliminated in the near future is excessively large and overloaded commercial vehicles. For example, an 80,000-pound truck is more than twice as likely to cause a fatality than one weighing 50,000-pounds. Furthermore their tremendous size creates extreme “wear and tear” to the roads themselves fostering unsafe driving conditions.

Trucks are also getting longer today, with the industry-standard trailer having grown from 40 to 53 feet. In fact, we are seeing a lot more of their operators driving double semi-trailers (36 wheelers). These longer vehicles cause larger blind spots and hence more accidents. In fact, many older highways were designed when trucks were smaller and shorter. Consequently many of our country’s interstate ramps and merge lanes cannot safely accommodate these heavy and oversized vehicles.

Other truck-related collisions are caused by a driver’s inexperience. Fatigue also comes into play by tired drivers who have been on the road far too long.  As a direct result, there are increased dangers of crashes including and rollovers.

Lawsuits involving truckers are often more difficult to prove than other kinds of crashes for several reasons. First, it may be difficult to find the driver. The nature of their job means that they may be traveling out-of-state frequently and therefore could be very far away from the accident scene. Trucking companies are also very skilled in defending and denying these negligence claims.

Finally, most commercial big-rig accidents involve far more parties than the typical fender bender: (the driver, the trucking company, multiple other drivers, the shipper, just to name a few). Moreover, the legal relationships among all of them often times can be difficult to unravel. A person who has been involved in an accident involving a truck is entitled to recover an amount necessary to compensate him/her for their injuries and other related damages.The complexity of these cases means that you should consult an experienced attorney like Evan and NOT rely on the trucking company’s insurance adjuster. They are not “on your side”, are not “a good neighbor”, nor are you
“in good hands” with any of them! Call us if you, a loved one or friend has been involved in such a crash. We will be happy to discuss all of the available options in obtaining monetary damages.

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