Large, tractor-trailer trucks account for a disproportionate amount of traffic deaths in the United States. Their involvement in fatal accidents is 50% greater than all other types of vehicles. One of the main reasons is the size of the trucks. Legally, they can only weigh up to 80,000 lbs, or 40 tons, but some trucks may exceed that weight. Tractor-trailers in general are 70 to 80 feet long.
When these extremely large vehicles become involved in crashes with smaller, passenger automobiles, occupants of the automobiles almost always suffer the worst injuries. 98% of the fatalities in accidents between tractor-trailers and automobiles are the people in the automobiles. Despite making up just four percent of all registered vehicles and seven percent of all miles traveled, tractor-trailers are involved in eleven percent of all fatal accidents. Victims of negligent truck driving should consider speaking with a Lufkin injury lawyer about obtaining compensation for their injuries.
Texas Tractor-Trailer Accidents
Because trucks have a high center of gravity and carry a great deal of weight, they may overturn in the event that a driver has to maneuver suddenly. A big rig truck overturned near the Texas Motor Speedway, closing westbound traffic on a highway. The truck had been carrying rocks when it rolled over into a ditch. The accident trapped the driver in the cab, as diesel fuel spilled out from the truck. Emergency responders were able to free him from the cab and take him to a hospital.
Like all drivers, tractor-trailer drivers sometimes drive too fast or make decisions that put their own lives or others’ lives in danger. With tractor-trailers, however, the margin for error is less, as their size makes it difficult to stop or maneuver as quickly as automobiles.
A Texas grandfather and grandson died when a truck slammed into the back of a car that had slowed down upon entering a construction zone. The tractor-trailer did not slow down in time and caused a chain reaction of car accidents, resulting in the deaths.
Just weeks after the accident and four miles from where it occurred, three others died when another tractor-trailer failed to slow down for the construction zone. Family members from the first accident have since sued several truck companies and the Texas Department of Transportation for providing inadequate warning signs in the construction zone.
Tips to Avoid Commercial Truck Accident
In many cases, automobile drivers are at fault in tractor-trailer accidents, and here are several tips that they can take to avoid becoming victims in a truck accident:
- Treat trucks differently than automobiles. Try to avoid driving next to them for any extended period of time. Leave plenty of space between you and tractor-trailers.
- Stay out of their blind spots by passing trucks quickly and not remaining alongside of them. Trucks may also have blind spots directly in front of them if the vehicle is small.
- If you have to pull over on the side of the road, pull as far away from the road as possible. If you cannot pull the car far off the road, you may want to exit your car and walk further away from traffic.