Truck accidents are among the deadliest accidents on our nation’s roads, and it’s not difficult to understand why. A fully loaded big rig can weigh in at around 80,000 pounds, while the average passenger car weighs only a few thousand pounds. Semi-trucks experience limited maneuverability due to their massive size, and the extreme size differential between them and other vehicles leads to exceedingly dangerous accidents. When you take to the road, always allow semis the extra space and reaction time they need to maneuver safely on the roads we share.
Regulations at the State and Federal Level
The trucking industry, for obvious reasons, is heavily regulated at both the state and federal level. These comprehensive regulations implement a wide variety of mandates related to keeping our roadways safe:
- Strict standards related to commercial driver’s licensing;
- More restrictive driving under the influence standards for commercial drivers;
- Stringent safety standards for both the trucking companies and for truckers (including standards related to the truckers’ health); and
- Strict standards related to the transportation of hazardous materials.
Trucking accidents are so inherently dangerous that comprehensive regulations are necessary to help mitigate the hazard.
Truck accidents are overwhelming and typically lead to extreme physical, emotional, and financial consequences. If you or someone you care about has been injured in a semi accident, you need experienced legal counsel. The skilled truck accident attorneys at Hasner Law have the experience, knowledge, and dedication to navigate your claim toward the financial compensation to which you’re entitled, and we’re here to help.
Truck Accidents: The Statistics
Tractor-trailers transport the goods that we, as consumers, demand in ever-greater abundance. As demand grows, more and more semi-trucks travel our roads, and with this uptick in truck traffic comes some sobering truck accident statistics:
- The driver and passengers in the vehicle that’s not the semi-truck are far more likely to die in an accident that involves both a big rig and a car (in 2015, 97 percent of these fatalities were people not in the big rig – including pedestrians).
- In 2015, the number of truck accident fatalities rose 22 percent (over the number for 2009);
- In 2015, 11 percent of all traffic fatalities involved a commercial truck.
These statistics are grim and should serve as a powerful reminder to proceed with caution when you share the road with massive commercial trucks.
A Safer Trucking Industry
While their enormous size makes semis inherently dangerous, there are ways and means of forging a safer trucking industry. The first line of defense for trucking safety is an experienced, healthy, engaged, and well-rested trucker. A fully operational and well-maintained rig that is exposed to a consistent and painstaking system of checks and double-checks (as the law mandates) is the second necessity when it comes to keeping things safe. Finally, it’s imperative that the trucking companies, themselves, are managed according to the law’s dictates and that they make safety their number one concern.
Let’s examine these crucial safety elements more closely.
- Truck Drivers
Truckers get behind the wheels of the most massive machines on our roads, and as such, they’re charged with the enormous responsibility of maneuvering them safely. These professional drivers move enormous amounts of cargo across our country at great speeds and often under extremely tight deadlines. In fact, truckers’ hectic schedules can push them past the brink of safe driving—not keeping up can negatively affect their livelihoods and bottom lines. The unhealthy sedentary lifestyle inherent to trucking—along with the frenetic pace—can contribute to trucking accidents.
- The Rig
Commercial trucks are finely-tuned machines with plenty of moving parts to break down or otherwise malfunction and lead to dangerous driving situations. There are three such components that frequently contribute to truck accidents:
A truck’s tires connect it to the road and are therefore elemental to safe maneuvering. When a semi-truck experiences a defective tire, it can render the truck extremely difficult to control and can lead to a serious safety threat.
2. Braking Systems
Brakes are obviously critical to safe trucking, and big rigs incorporate extremely complex braking systems that necessitate rigorous and systematic maintenance and oversight.
3. Coupling Devices
Trailers are connected to their cabs with coupling devices, and any defect or malfunction in these crucial mechanisms can be lethal. Regular and comprehensive maintenance and inspections are critical.
- The Trucking Company
The trucking company is charged with maintaining a safe fleet of big rigs – and everything that entails. This includes implementing an overarching safety system that’s comprised of regular safety checks related to maintenance and roadworthiness.
The responsibility for maintaining a safe, reliable, and roadworthy fleet is shared by the trucking company, the truck drivers, the trucks’ manufacturers, the parts manufacturers, and the fleets’ mechanics.
Dangers Inherent to Trucking
Because of their immense size, tractor-trailers are prone to extremely dangerous accidents. There are a couple of issues related to their size that commonly contribute to such accidents:
- Center of Gravity
Center-of-gravity issues can contribute to the severity of truck accidents. When 18-wheelers aren’t loaded properly (often the result of time-saving shortcuts or of a design flaw in the truck itself), issues related to the truck’s center of gravity can result in rollovers, which are among the deadliest big rig accidents.
- No Zones
Because of the enormity of their rigs, semi-truck drivers experience large swaths of blind spots, or no zones, all the way around their trucks. These blind spots make it difficult for truckers to get a clear and accurate view of the road around them, which can lead to serious accidents. All commercial trucks have no zones, but the design of some trucks exacerbates the problem.
Work with an Experienced Columbus, Georgia, Truck Accident Attorney
Truck accidents are terrifying, and truck accident claims are complicated, but the experienced legal team at Hasner Law is here to help. We have the skill, determination, and compassion to aggressively advocate for your claim’s best possible outcome, so please contact or call our office at 678-888-4878 for an initial consultation today.