Accidents involving large commercial trucks like tractor-trailers, semi-trucks, big rigs, and 18-wheelers can cause much more extensive damage than a car vs. car collision. When a truck crashes, the risk of fatality is high. Truck drivers who operate these powerful, 40-ton vehicles have a duty to do so as safely as possible. If a truck driver drives distracted, they fail in this duty. Sadly, hundreds of people every year pay the price for these fatal mistakes.
No motorist wants to get in the way of a tractor-trailer truck. They’re much bigger than anything that most people will ever drive. Consequently, a collision with a tractor-trailer truck can cause a lot of damage. Typically, drivers of tractor-trailer trucks are the safest drivers on the road. A lot of hard work goes into becoming certified to drive a tractor-trailer truck, and the majority of companies make their drivers take drug tests.
Truck underride accidents occur when a small vehicle crashes into the back or sides of the cargo area of a large truck, typically an 18-wheeler. Underride accidents remain one of the most dangerous types of collisions you can possibly have. According to the latest data from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, an organization that collects data on automobile accidents, 3,436 deaths were linked to underride accidents in 2019.
Sharing the road with tractor trailers can be intimidating because they’re so much larger and heavier than regular vehicles. When a large truck collides with your vehicle, you might think that the only person capable of being at fault is the truck driver, but that’s not necessarily true. Truckers have to go through extensive training and licensing in order to be able to operate the semi.
While they can also make mistakes, a collision isn’t always their fault. Their trucking company could be the party responsible for your wreck. Having a truck accident lawyer on your side can help you prove that the trucking company is the one who caused the collision. Let’s take a look at what situations might happen that make the company at fault.
The trucking industry keeps this country running. Tractor trailers that haul goods aren’t the only kind of commercial trucks, though. Commercial trucks are any kind of truck that is used for business. So that means dump trucks, delivery trucks, garbage trucks, tanker trucks, cement mixers, and refrigerator trucks are all commercial trucks as well as tractor trailers. What all of these trucks have in common is that they are all larger than regular motor vehicles, which means a collision with one can cause serious damage and injuries to passengers in a car.
You likely will have to share the road with a large truck at some point. They are constantly traveling on busy interstates and highways. When someone is operating a motor vehicle, they have a responsibility to those around them to not endanger anyone around them. This includes everyone—truck drivers, car drivers, and motorcyclists. While trucks have their unique set of challenges, it doesn’t excuse people from driving recklessly. When reckless driving does lead to a truck collision, you need trustworthy representation.
The trauma of a truck accident can be astronomical. They tend to have worse injuries and overall damages and can put someone’s life on hold while they worry about recovery and how they’re going to afford care for their injuries. At DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC, we believe in standing up for those who have been wrongfully injured.
Multiple factors can complicate a trucking lawsuit. Here are some of the most common factors that may impact a case:
It’s a common occurrence to drive alongside tractor-trailers on highways and local roads. Even though this is something many of us do every day, many motorists fail to realize the size of trucks’ blind spots or the dangers associated with traveling in one. Becoming familiar with the scope and locations of these areas can help prevent deadly accidents.
Locations and Dangers of Trucker Blind Spots
Commercial vehicles have large blind spots around all four sides. When passenger vehicles or motorcycles are in these zones, truckers cannot see them. This can quickly create a dangerous situation. It’s important to be aware of trucker blind spots, so you can drive responsibly around them. As a general rule, if you can’t see the driver in their mirror, it’s likely they cannot see you.
Front Blind Spot. This blind spot is directly in front of the truck and is caused by the engine. Depending on the truck’s design, the blind spot typically extends for 20 feet from the front of the vehicle. This blind spot is most dangerous for passenger vehicles who are merging in front of a truck. If the trucker does not see the vehicle or sees it but is unable to stop in time, the smaller vehicle could be run over.
Side Blind Spots. There are blind spots on the left and right sides of large trucks. On the left, the driver’s side blind spot extends for one entire lane, starting at the front right corner of the door. On the right, the blind spot is larger. It extends from the passenger door and out as far as 100 to 200 feet behind the truck. It spans across two lanes of traffic. These zones are especially dangerous during passing and turning.
Rear Blind Spot. Similar to the location in the front, the rear blind spot extends directly from the back of the truck. It extends for approximately 30 feet, depending on the design of the tractor-trailer. These zones become dangerous when traveling uphill and downhill when truck speeds vary the greatest.
Truck drivers are often caught in a predicament: do what their company tells them to and receive work, or comply with the law and risk punishment from their company. They’re caught in an impossible situation. Many choose to keep their heads down and try to fight through the fatigue, but this is easier said than done. As trucking agencies demand their workers to drive past legal regulations, they risk the lives of everyone on the road.
The port trucking companies in Los Angeles put their drivers in dangerous situations and aren’t showing signs of stopping. Some of their truckers’ shifts can run for 20 hours a day in a six-day work week. While some truckers have admitted to breaking fatigue laws in the event of tragic accidents, trucking agencies continue to push their drivers far past their limits.
Truck drivers struggle with driving for long periods and unable to find adequate places to stop and rest when they get tired. As a result, many drivers keep going even though they’re exhausted because they need to find a place to pull over. This makes them unsafe drivers and a danger to themselves and others on the road.
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