Common Safety Concerns: Large Trucks
Large commercial trucks represent only around 4 percent of all registered vehicles. However, due to their large size and the fact that truck drivers travel many more miles than the average driver, they are consistently involved in a higher proportion of fatal crashes than passenger vehicles. In 2009, large trucks accounted for 7 percent of all vehicles involved in fatal traffic collisions. Truck drivers require special licenses that they obtain through highly regulated training. Nevertheless, the unique hazards posed by the large vehicles they drive mean that even a small mistake can lead to deadly consequences. In some cases, passenger vehicle drivers do not give trucks the proper attention, which also contributes to accidents.
At Arnold & Itkin LLP, we are committed to preserving the rights of truck accident victims by holding the responsible parties accountable for the accidents and resulting damages. If you have been injured in a collision with a large truck anywhere in the U.S., we are pleased to offer you a free consultation. Our lawyers have an impressive record, including multi-million dollar recoveries. We have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for our clients in verdicts and settlements. Let our firm put their skills and experience to work on your case.
Dangers Unique to Big Rigs and 18-Wheelers
The massive size of a tractor-trailer or big rig means that it will handle much differently than a smaller passenger vehicle. One of the biggest differences is stopping distance. At 65 miles per hour, a car requires approximately 160 feet to stop. A big rig, on the other hand, requires approximately 420 feet to stop.
A big rig also has huge blind spots, commonly referred to as "no zone" areas. We are all used to the blind spot in our own car, but trucks have multiple blind spots in both the front and the back. This makes it difficult for the driver to spot surrounding vehicles, which can lead to a collision.
In addition, large trucks make wide turns. A driver often has to swing in the opposite direction before negotiating a turn. For example, before making a right turn, a tractor-trailer driver may first swing the truck left to accommodate the wide turning radius. This can endanger vehicles on either side of the truck.
The height and weight distribution of an 18-wheeler makes it particularly susceptible to rollovers. Although often caused by speeding, truck rollovers can occur even at very low speeds, especially when going around corners and up or down a steep pitch. Rollovers may also occur when a tire goes off the pavement and a driver tries to return to the road.
Truck Driver Error
Aside from the physical limitations of 18-wheelers, other factors can lead to truck accidents. Although truck drivers by and large are skilled, attentive, courteous drivers, even minor lapses in judgment on their part can lead to catastrophic situations. Actions such as speeding, tailgating, swerving, failing to signal and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can all lead to a truck accident.
There are also a number of factors inherent to the trucking business that can lead to a big rig accident. Truck drivers often operate within a system of compensation that encourages driving faster and for more consecutive hours than is safe. They may also drive through hazardous conditions in order to meet deadlines. Additionally, drivers may receive inadequate training that does not prepare them for driving a tractor-trailer.
Passenger Vehicle Driver Error
Those of us who share the roadways with commercial trucks occasionally make mistakes that can lead to a truck accident. Unsafe actions by passenger vehicle drivers include:
- Driving in an 18-wheeler's blind spot;
- Cutting abruptly in front of a truck;
- Pulling in front of a large truck and causing the driver to brake quickly;
- Failing to exercise caution around a truck making a turn; and
- Unsafe passing, such as not allowing enough headway.
The truck accident lawyers at Arnold & Itkin LLP have a successful track record of taking on the trucking industry and earning fair compensation for clients, whether through negotiated settlements or courtroom verdicts. We have been consistently recognized as top attorneys in the field of truck accidents by publications such as H Texas and Texas Monthly. To see the difference a highly skilled lawyer can make in your case, call us to schedule a free consultation.