About 500,000 traffic accidents involving large semi-trucks happen annually in the U.S. Sadly, tens of thousands of people are injured and 5,000 are killed each year in those accidents, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Why Truck Accidents are So Dangerous
When accident victims survive these large-scale truck accidents, their injuries are often severe and life-changing, from traumatic brain injury to spinal cord injury to amputations says Peck Law Group Serious Injury Attorney Steven C. Peck.
What makes a truck-versus-passenger vehicle collision especially dangerous, of course, is the size and weight of large trucks (also called 18-wheelers and tractor-trailer rigs). The average commercial semi-truck on U.S. roads weighs 80,000 pounds. Because of that sheer tonnage, one wrong move, however small, by a truck driver, or one seemingly minor mechanical malfunction, can have tragic consequences.
Most large truck accidents, however, are preventable. In fact, if all commercial drivers and trucking companies were to abide by the stringent federal and state laws governing the trucking industry, many lives could be saved and injuries avoided.
Causes of Truck Accidents
Just a few of the causes of truck accidents that could be easily avoided with better adherence to trucking regulations include:
- Driver fatigue
- Use of drugs or alcohol by driver
- Inexperienced/untrained drivers
- Improperly loaded cargo
- Mechanical failure
- Poor truck maintenance
What You Can Do to Avoid a Truck-Car Collision
Another way to help prevent truck accidents from happening is for passenger vehicle drivers to use more caution when sharing the road with 18-wheelers. Here are a few tips:
- Be mindful of large truck blind spots and move out of them quickly. If you cannot see a truck’s side mirrors, the truck driver cannot see you. Also, keep in mind that a large truck has blind spots at the front, back and sides of the vehicle.
- Always pass large trucks on the left.
- Leave plenty of space between you and a large truck. Be sure not to tailgate a trucker and do not move into the truck’s lane without lots of distance between you and the truck.
- Be hyper-aware of merging onto highways using entrance ramps. If you merge in front of a truck, and there is not enough space and time for the large 70-ton truck to slow down, there will be trouble.
- Tell local police if you witness a truck driver who is driving aggressively, speeding or otherwise breaking the law. Your call could prevent a serious accident from happening down the road.
About the Author
Attorney Steven Peck has been practicing law since 1981. A former successful business owner, Mr. Peck initially focused his legal career on business law. Within the first three years, after some colleagues and friend’s parents endured nursing home neglect and elder abuse, he continued his education to begin practicing elder law and nursing home abuse law.