The great majority of professional truck drivers cover tens of thousands of highway miles every year without incident. The large trucks they drive are also safer and more heavily regulated than other vehicles on the road. Nonetheless, collisions between large trucks and other vehicles inevitably result in substantially more damage, injuries and fatalities to the other vehicles and their occupants than to the truck and its driver.
The Physics and Risks of Truck Driving
The physical disparity between a large truck and a car enhances the driving risks faced by the smaller vehicle. The truck accident lawyers at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer, & Graifman see at least five ways that this disparity and other factors expose vehicle occupants to greater risks on the roadway.
- Trucks weigh up to twenty times more than cars. On U.S. roadways, a fully-loaded semi tractor-trailer truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. In contrast, an average passenger vehicle weighs 4,000 pounds. The larger, heavier vehicle has more energy and momentum that can harm a vehicle occupant in even the most safely-designed car.
- Trucks need twice as much room to stop. A car traveling at 65 miles per hour needs about 300 feet to come to a full stop. A fully-loaded truck traveling at the same speed can need up to 600 feet. Rain and other inclement weather conditions can increase that stopping distance. Both trucks and vehicles need to account for these distances in heavy traffic.
- Trucks have large blind spots. Even with backup cameras and large mirrors, trucks still have significant blind spots, both on their driver and passenger sides. Truck and vehicle drivers need to exercise extra vigilance to remain aware of those blind spots and the potential vehicle traffic in them.
- Extended work hours can cause truck driver fatigue. Trucking companies occasionally push their operators to drive longer hours and with fewer rest stops, which can lead to driver fatigue. All workers experience fatigue in their jobs at different times of the day. Where that job requires the operation of an 80,000-pound vehicle, fatigue enhances vehicle risks.
- Trucks are complex mechanical structures that require extra maintenance. Improper or inadequate truck maintenance can cause tire blowouts and other mechanical problems that further expand the roadway risks for other vehicles.
Contact the Truck Accident Lawyers at KGG
The trucking industry provides valuable commercial services, and trucks are a critical component in that industry. This does not excuse the trucking industry from taking all reasonable and necessary steps to reduce risks and operate their trucks in the safest manner on roadways that they share with other vehicles.
If you are in an accident with a large truck in Bergen County or Rockland County, or elsewhere in New York or New Jersey, and you have suffered property damage or significant injuries in that accident, please contact the NY & NJ truck accident lawyers at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman for a complimentary analysis of your case.
Some roadway risks are unavoidable, but if the risks that led to your accident could have been eliminated, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages and injuries. We will fight to recover the compensation you deserve, and you will pay nothing unless we recover damages for you.
Additional “Truck Driving Risks” Resources:
- FMCSA.dot.gov: The Large Truck Crash Causation Study – Analysis Brief. https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/research-and-analysis/large-truck-crash-causation-study-analysis-brief
- IIHS.org: Large Trucks. http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/large-trucks/fatalityfacts/large-trucks
- TheTruckersReport.com: Truck Blind Spots: Know the Danger Zones. https://www.thetruckersreport.com/truck-blind-spots-know-the-danger-zones/