Semi trucks fulfill a vital role in this country’s economy, and its transportation system, so they are almost everywhere you look while you are driving. With the sheer number of trucks on the road it is no wonder that accidents involving tractor trailers happen quite frequently. In fact, there are over 500,000 accidents involving a truck and other trucks or other vehicles each year, with approximately 5,000 fatalities as a result. That means that every 16 minutes, approximately, in this country, someone is either injured or killed in an accident with a truck.
There are differences between collisions involving regular passenger vehicles and those involving large trucks. Because tractor trailers and semi trucks are so large, and may also carry large and heavy loads, when collisions or other accidents involving them occur they can result in serious injury, or even death, along with large amounts of property damage.
There are several things about trucks which make them potentially more dangerous than other types of vehicles on the road, including their:
There is no denying how large semi trucks on the road are, especially in comparison to regular sized passenger vehicles. Did you know that these trucks can weigh up to thirty times as much as a passenger vehicle? This large size and weight, because of physics, impacts how quickly a truck can accelerate, brake and even maneuver. These actions can be critical in avoiding or causing a collision.
Further, because of the large weight and size of tractor trailers and semis, when they are involved in a collision with a smaller size vehicle, those occupants of a passenger vehicle are at more risk of getting serious injuries, such as those involving the head or spinal cord, or even causing death. On the other hand, the same size and weight that causes passengers in smaller vehicles around the truck to be in more danger, typically protects the truck drivers. Of the approximately 5,000 fatalities per year caused by truck accidents, 98% of these victims are occupants of the passenger vehicle, not the truck itself.
The large size of trucks also causes danger for passenger vehicles because of blind spots, also known as “no-zones.” These blind spots are large areas, on both sides of the truck, where it is difficult for the truck driver to see the vehicles surrounding the semi. Further, the cargo carried by these trucks is typically carried in trailers, which, because of their large size and weight, can tip, separate from the truck, or spill their contents onto the road all of which can cause serious dangers for vehicles around them.
All of the dangers of semis and tractor trailers listed above are inherent to the trucks themselves, based on their size, shape and contents. However, these large vehicles become even more dangerous to the passenger cars around them when they are driven during dangerous driving conditions, or when the truck driver acts negligently. Then, unfortunately, these trucks become even more unsafe to the passengers inside the cars around them. Learn about the most common causes of truck accidents here.
Starr Austen and Miller, an Indiana truck accident law firm, focuses on representing individuals and their family members in serious personal injury and wrongful death cases, such as those often involved in trucking accidents. If you or a loved one have been in a truck accident you can contact us for a free consultation to discuss your case.