Tractor-trailer trucks that are operated by trained and responsible drivers and are properly maintained are a vital resource in the United States economy. However, when negligence on the part of a tractor-trailer operator or owner causes an accident with another vehicles, the results are often devastating.
What Makes Tractor-Trailers So Dangerous?
Negligently operated tractor-trailers are an extreme hazard on the road because accidents involving these colossal vehicles often lead to major injury or death. The increased danger of tractor-trailers, also known as semi trucks, is due to several factors, including:
Size. A tractor-trailer can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, which is 16 times more than the average passenger car. The impact of a collision with a commercial truck of this size is can be catastrophic.
Poor Braking Ability. The average tractor-trailer needs approximately 350 feet to come to a stop from traveling at 60 miles per hour. This is more than the length of a football field.
Lack of Maneuverability. Truckers have a harder time avoiding hazards on the road such as accidents, debris and out-of-control vehicles because a semi truck needs more time and space to alter its course.
Dangerous Cargo. Many commercial trucks on the road transport flammable, explosive or otherwise hazardous cargo, which can turn a minor accident into a tragic event.
Preventing Tractor-Trailer Accidents
Common-sense driving tactics can go a long way in keeping you safe when driving near tractor-trailers.
- Stay alert. Truck drivers may be more likely to become drowsy while driving than the average motorist due to the number of miles they drive, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen to you, too. There are many tactics available to keep yourself alert while behind the wheel.
- Leave space. Give a tractor-trailer the space it needs to stop suddenly if need be. Don’t ride too close behind a semi truck, and make sure to stay in your lane. Large vehicles like many commercial trucks are very wide and fill their entire lane.
- Avoid distractions. Engaging in distracting activities like using a cell phone, looking into the backseat or fumbling with belongings delays your reaction time if you need to respond quickly on the road.
Just because you take every precaution, however, doesn’t mean a truck driver — or any other driver, for that matter — will do the same. See this graphic for more on the most common ways truck drivers cause accidents.
People who are hurt in an accident with a truck can and should demand accountability from the trucking company if the company and/or its driver is at fault for the collision. This is typically done by hiring an attorney who will build a case and file a lawsuit against the company. Many cases never see the inside of a courtroom because a settlement is reached between your attorney and the trucking company.
Why do you need an attorney? Because if the accident wasn’t your fault, having an attorney on your side gives you the best odds of getting all your bills and expenses covered so you don’t have to pay out of pocket. A qualified trucking attorney will make sure the accident scene gets promptly investigated to gather evidence and will bring in an expert to analyze the accident. Be patient. Building a case takes time, and so does negotiating for the best outcome for you.
An attorney familiar with trucking laws and personal injury cases can also seek compensation for your suffering and hardship. The Truck Accident Attorneys routinely secure settlements of several million dollars or more – sometimes several in the same week.
Click here to read about the steps you should take if hurt in a truck accident.
Nationwide Tractor-Trailer Accident Statistics
- More than 1.5 million tractor-trailer accidents caused an injury in 2009.
- Accidents involving large trucks or buses claimed more than 3,600 lives in 2009.
- Injuries from accidents involving large trucks or buses amounted to approximately 74,000 in 2009.
- For tractor trailer accident statistics broke down by carrier visit our carrier statistics pages.
Georgia Tractor-Trailer Accident Statistics
- More than 1,200 people died in Georgia tractor-trailer accidents in 2009.
- Of the 1,200 deaths, 919 were occupants of the passenger vehicle.
Tractor-Trailer Accidents in the News
- Trucker Fatigue Still a Major Concern
- ‘Minor Injuries’ Can Mean Long-Term Suffering
- Distracted Truck Driver Crashes, Kills Police Officer
- Know How to Stay Safe on Winter Roadways
- Common Causes of Trucking Accidents
- Shutting Down Dangerous Trucking Companies
- Joe Fried Shares His Knowledge in Trial Magazine
- Overweight Truckers Cause More Accidents
- It’s Not Just the Truck That’s Dangerous
- Truck Drivers and Airline Pilots: Why the Disparity?
If you or a loved one have been injured or have lost a family member in a tractor-trailer accident, please contact The Truck Accident Attorneys today. We are leaders in the field of trucking accident recovery, and we will put our extensive resources and experience to work for you. Our attorneys will obtain the maximum compensation for you and your family and ensure that justice is served against the party responsible for your accident. Contact us for a free consultation to determine how you can receive compensation for medical treatment, loss of property, lost wages, and physical and emotional pain and suffering.