Large commercial trucks pose significant dangers on the road due to their size, weight, instability, cargo, and distracted drivers.
Commercial Trucks Pose Deadly Dangers
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a collision with a large commercial truck usually results in severe injuries and/or death. In 2017, accident reports by the U.S. Department of Transportation confirmed that occupants in passenger cars suffered four times as many injuries and seven times as many deaths when involved in crashes with large commercial trucks.
When commercial truck accidents occur, truck accident lawyers often see crushed and broken bones; amputated limbs; neck and spinal cord injuries; internal organ damage; head trauma; and traumatic brain injuries (TBI). If victims survive. they often suffer life-long injuries with chronic pain and physical or mental disabilities.
(Article continues below infographic)
On average, semi-trucks measure 72 feet long, 13.5 feet tall, and 8.5 feet wide. However, the federal government allows trucks as wide as 102 inches on U.S. Interstate systems. When traveling at 65 mph, the size of a commercial truck becomes a lethal weapon.
When a commercial truck is fully loaded, it can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, the maximum weight limit imposed by the federal government. By comparison, the average passenger car weighs about 4,000 pounds. The force of impact with another vehicle is roughly equivalent to getting hit by 20 cars at once.
Commercial trucks and trailers are often top-heavy due to their weight and cargo. Overloaded trucks are prone to rollover and jackknife accidents that are responsible for many deadly crashes on highways and interstates. At high speeds, a truck accident lawyer typically sees few survivors when an overloaded truck rolls over or jackknifes into a passenger car.
Under FMCSA guidelines, commercial trucks operating in interstate commerce are required to properly secure their cargo with high-density ropes, tie-downs, steel straps, or metal hooks to prevent cargo from shifting, sliding, tipping, or falling off trucks. FMCSA attributes at least 50,000 car crashes every year to improperly secured cargo loads.
Due to long hours on the road, commercial truck drivers are 23 times more likely to engage in distracted driving behaviors compared to other vehicle drivers. Distractions include texting and/or talking on cell phones, changing radio stations, surfing the internet, watching videos, and eating and drinking while driving. Truck accident lawyers are witnessing an increase in distracted driving accidents among commercial truckers.