While all road accidents can be dangerous, those involving commercial trucks are typically the most hazardous and cause the greatest amount of injury. Commercial trucks are often used to transport petroleum products, perishable goods, or other heavy cargo. Although they are essential to our economy, the size and weight of these trucks can turn a minor accident into a fatal one, resulting in a higher number of fatalities compared to accidents involving traditional motor vehicles.
Statistics from the National Safety Council reveal that in 2020, 4,842 commercial trucks were involved in fatal crashes. Regrettably, many of these incidents arise from foreseeable circumstances. Numerous factors contribute to the increased danger of commercial truck accidents, such as:
Commercial trucks weigh between 10,000 to 80,000 pounds, whereas normal passenger cars weigh between 2,000 and 4,000 pounds. The force generated in an accident is a product of mass and acceleration, meaning that even at low speeds, commercial trucks can produce substantial force. Furthermore, commercial trucks measure between 45 to 65 feet in length, compared to passenger vehicles that measure 12 to 18 feet in length. This greater length makes it more challenging for the driver to gauge the truck’s space on the road, which can lead to collisions.
Commercial trucks are heavier and longer than passenger cars, which places them at a higher risk of collision as they are unable to quickly navigate around obstacles on the road. Trucks typically require twice the turning radius of passenger cars. The large size and weight of commercial trucks limit their ability to maneuver quickly on the road, increasing the risk of accidents when trying to avoid hazards.
Larger vehicles, such as commercial trucks, require more distance to stop than cars. Large trucks may require over 520 feet to come to a complete stop, whereas cars only require an estimated 300 feet. This makes commercial trucks more susceptible to rear-end collisions, as drivers may not be able to stop in time for a traffic slowdown ahead of them.
Numerous trucks transport hazardous materials. An accident involving a truck carrying hazardous materials can have catastrophic consequences. Dangerous substances such as flammable gas can cause significant damage when involved in an accident.
Although most truck drivers adhere to Texas regulations and those set by the Department of Transportation, some may not have received adequate training. Failing to understand truck driving techniques, defensive driving, and truck safety concerns could cause an accident. Truck drivers should possess the necessary skills to avoid jackknifing, skidding, and hydroplaning.
Trucking companies are responsible for ensuring their trucks are properly maintained and any wear and tear is promptly addressed. Failure to do so could lead to accidents caused by malfunctioning essential truck components, such as the braking and steering systems. Our truck accident attorneys work with experts in different fields such as automotive engineers to ascertain the roadworthiness of the vehicle involved in the crash at the time of the accident.
Trucks have specific limitations on what they can carry, how it can be stored, and the weight of the load. There are specific statewide and national regulations that must be adhered to when it comes to loading, including compliance with regulations on weight, size, height, length, and width. Failure to comply with these regulations could cause the truck to be too heavy to drive safely or at risk of tipping over.
Some trucking companies may put their drivers under pressure to meet strict deadlines, leading to reckless driving practices such as speeding, reckless overtaking, and driving for extended periods without proper rest. This could increase the risk of accidents as drivers may be driving too fast or for too long in order to meet deadlines.
Truck drivers frequently experience fatigue due to the long distances they are expected to cover in a single day. This fatigue can impair their judgment in both emergency and non-emergency situations. Trucking companies and truck owners have a legal obligation to adhere to state and federal regulations regarding hours of service to ensure drivers have adequate rest periods and are not driving while fatigued.
Commercial truck accidents can result in serious injuries, death, or severe and permanent damages. If you have been injured in a trucking accident, seeking medical attention should be your top priority. If your injuries are the result of a truck driver’s negligence, it is highly advisable to contact a lawyer immediately. Our experienced attorneys at Lone Star Injury Attorneys can assist you with your truck accident claim and hold the negligent parties accountable. Contact our office today for a free consultation.