In 2012, over 300,000 semi-trucks were involved in traffic accidents in the United States. Of those accidents, over 100,000 people were injured, and almost 4,000 people were killed. In recent years, these numbers have steadily increased, and they continue to do so.
For big trucking companies, profit is directly measured by how many trucks they have on the road and how many miles those trucks are able to travel. Trucking companies often prioritize profit over safety. They break weight limits and drive-time restrictions, putting everyone on the road in danger.
Tractor-trailer accidents happen every day and are commonly caused by:
- Driver Fatigue – Truck drivers are restricted by drive-time limits. They may only drive a specified number of hours until they are required to take a break. However, commercial motor vehicle drivers are paid per mile, not per hour, so financially, it is more beneficial for them to violate those restrictions and drive as much as possible.
- Driver Distraction – It is easy to get distracted while driving. This is even more true for truck drivers, who spend the majority of their day behind the wheel. Many times, these distractions result in traffic accidents.
- Load Weight – In some cases, drivers overload their trucks to increase productivity. Other times, problems arise when a truck driver fails to evenly distribute the weight of the load, thereby causing the tractor-trailer to become unstable.
- Road Conditions – Truck drivers are forced to drive through all conditions, including bad weather, poorly maintained roads, and reduced visibility. These conditions often result in truck accidents.
- Size and Weight – The difference in weight of a semi-truck as compared to an ordinary vehicle is astounding. This weight difference becomes a problem for two reasons; One, trucks take longer to stop than other vehicles, and two, if an accident occurs, the crash impact can result in devastating injury to the driver and irreparable damage to the vehicle.
- Flow of Traffic – Typically, smaller vehicles can maneuver easily on the road, while big trucks cannot. Truck drivers must, therefore, react to stop and go traffic, and to drivers who weave in and out of lanes. This can be problematic for some truck drivers, and thus, result in horrific accidents.
As a driver on the road, you should take the following steps to avoid becoming the victim of a tractor-trailer accident:
- Give Trucks Room – Keep a safe distance from trucks. Due to the size and weight of big trucks, they can be unstable and unpredictable. Provide truck drivers room for error. Give them extra space to stop and turn. Account for their blind spots (also known as no-zones), and yield extra distance between you and the truck, especially when following up an incline.
- Drive Safely – When you are driving alongside tractor-trailers follow all driving regulations. Drive the speed limit, avoid erratic driving, don’t change lanes quickly, and make sure to properly use turning signals.
- Pay Attention to Road Conditions – Remember that bad road conditions affect truck drivers, too, and always drive defensively.
- Protect Yourself – If you notice a truck is moving unusually or feel unsafe for any reason, pull off the road. Don’t hesitate to slow down, let trucks pass, and/or avoid them all together. Only you can keep yourself safe.
If you or your loved one was involved in a trucking accident, call me immediately at 1 (800) 556-4769. I will protect your rights and get you the compensation you deserve.
Author: Tim Misny | For 33 years, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in birth injury, medical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving “Cleveland, Akron/Canton, Columbus & Cincinnati, Ohio.” You can reach Tim by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 1 (800) 556-4769.